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Author Topic: Articulating our cause/strategy against Islamic Fascism  (Read 14587 times)
HUSS
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« on: July 29, 2008, 09:34:57 PM »

Ignorance about the Enemy's Ideology is the Problem
by Jeffrey Imm
Special to IPT News
July 29, 2008

In fighting Jihad, America's greatest challenge remains understanding and confronting the ideology that provides the basis for Jihadist terrorism. Efforts to clearly define this enemy ideology recently have been undermined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), and the State Department in promoting a "terror lexicon" that recommends federal government employees avoid terms such as "jihad," "jihadist," "Islamist," "mujahideen," and "caliphate" when addressing issues involving terrorism. The argument made by the DHS, NCTC, and others is that the use of such terms will aid in the "recruitment" of Muslims to join terrorist organizations, or will alternatively provide "legitimacy" to religious aspects of terrorist efforts.

However, this tactical approach to create a "terror lexicon" to ban such terms used in federal government terrorism reports and the 9/11 Commission report undermines the strategic efforts to identify, understand, and confront the ideology that is the root challenge in a war of ideas against Jihad. And, as Bill West points out, it can also open the door to some unintended consequences for law enforcement.

Congressmen Peter Hoekstra (R-MI) has been an outspoken critic of such "terror lexicon" efforts, and was the leader of an amendment to the House of Representatives' 2009 Intelligence funding bill to prevent government funding from supporting such activities. On July 16, 2008, the House passed (by voice vote) House Resolution 5959 "Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009," which included Congressman Hoekstra's amendment (Section 507 'Jihadists').

Congressman Hoekstra's amendment states that:
"None of the funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act may be used to prohibit or discourage the use of the words or phrases 'jihadist', 'jihad', 'Islamo-fascism', 'caliphate', 'Islamist', or 'Islamic terrorist' by or within the intelligence community or the Federal Government."

In the House debate on this amendment, Congressional advocates of the "terror lexicon" such as Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-CA) reiterated the DHS fears that "we not use language that inflames." She said she was not trying to invoke political correctness or censorship, yet expressed concern that the language might alienate those already hostile toward us:

"there is no prohibition in this to quoting the statements of Osama bin Laden and others who use these hateful words. Why would we want to sensor that? The prohibition is directed at ourselves, words that will inflame the very communities we're trying to convince.

I would just close with the observation that if we had thought a little longer about using the phrase ‘‘axis of evil" we might have, it seems to me, engendered more cooperation on the part of some countries that have, sadly, moved far away from us, and engendered more cooperation on the part of populations which now look at America with disapproval."

But Congressman Hoekstra rebutted such arguments with the question: "How will America understand the nature and the character of our enemy if we can't use the words that they use to describe themselves and we need to come up with a whole new language that is totally out of context with the enemy and the nature of the threat that we face today?" Congressman Hoekstra also urged the House of Representatives "not [to] give the radical jihadists a victory hereby imposing a speech code on America's intelligence community."

This amendment was passed by the margin of 249-180 (with 10 abstentions). While it remains to be seen if this text will be part of a final bill supported by the Senate and signed by President Bush, the Congressional voting record on this amendment (Roll Call 500) provides the American public with insight on their representatives' views on this subject. Among those supporting Hoekstra were Republicans Sue Myrick (NC), Frank Wolf (VA), Peter King (NY) and Democrats Brad Sherman (CA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (NY). Opponents to the amendment included Democrats Jane Harman (CA), Steny Hoyer (MD) and John Conyers (MI), along with Republican Ron Paul (TX).

Confusion as to the "nature and character" of the enemy is precisely the goal of groups that support Islamist doctrine. Not surprisingly, Islamist groups and their apologists quickly attacked the Hoekstra amendment approval by the House of Representatives.

On July 23, 2008, the Detroit Times' Gregg Krupa reported on the successful Hoekstra amendment. The article criticized the Michigan congressional delegation (including Congressman Hoekstra) for supporting the amendment, defending the "terror lexicon." Krupa's article also states that "Muslims have long considered the words ["jihadist" and "Islamist"] as slurs," and "those who embrace jihad bring themselves closer to God." For that perspective, Krupa turns to his go-to source, Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan. Walid argues that CAIR supports such terror lexicon efforts to "remove the false cloak of religiosity" from Jihadist terrorism.

Neither Krupa nor Walid seem to have a solution about referring to terrorist groups operating under religious names, such as Hizballah (Party of God) or any number of Islamic Jihads in the world.

Parts of the Detroit Times article have also been included in a UPI news report.

Krupa's article fails to mention that CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) terror trial, or that CAIR's executive director is a supporter of the Hamas terrorist organization. Krupa's article also fails to note that CAIR has been identified by the FBI as part of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee. (The Investigative Project on Terrorism has a 10-part expose on CAIR.)

Krupa regularly reports on Detroit and Dearborn-area Islamic community news and related world events of interest to such readers, and his articles often are reprinted on CAIR's web site and other Islamic web sites. His articles include a report promoting a CAIR "public outreach campaign about Islam and the prophet Muhammad," and a glowing report regarding Imam Hassan Al-Qazwini (Islamic Center of America). The Detroit Times regularly quotes CAIR's Dawud Walid, and on July 8, 2008, it published a Dawud Walid commentary titled "Obama, McCain should condemn Islamophobia."

The Detroit Free Press reports that Walid "speaks regularly at one of Detroit's largest mosques, Masjid Wali Muhammad, where he is an associate imam... was the first Nation of Islam temple in the country ever built, according to Walid," and which has a portrait of the Nation of Islam's former Supreme Minister, Elijah Muhammad. Yet while he speaks at this Nation of Islam-supporting mosque and attends speeches by Louis Farrakhan, CAIR's Walid claims to be against "extremists" in his interview with the Detroit Times' Krupa. Moreover, Walid has repeatedly defended organizations accused of terrorist finance links, and encouraged readers of his blog to continue to financially support the Al Mabarrat foundation after it had been raided for suspicion of links to terrorist funding, as well as to financially support the Life for Relief and Development (LIFE) group raided in September 2006. The Al Mabarrat foundation has been linked to the terrorist group Hizballah. LIFE officer Muthanna Al-Hanooti was arrested in March on charges of spying for Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government.

Joining CAIR in supporting the DHS/NCTC terror lexicon efforts are other Islamist organizations, such as: fellow HLF trial unindicted co-conspirator Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) - whose 2007 conference speakers included individuals who have called for an Islamic caliphate in the United States and other Islamists, the Muslim American Society (MAS) - founded as the United States chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood Organization ("Jihad is our way"), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) - that has lobbied to remove Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hizballah from U.S. terrorist group listings, and whose spokeswoman Edina Lekovic was managing editor for Al-Talib when it defended Osama Bin Laden.

CAIR and other such Islamist organizations have a vested interest in preventing an open and honest discussion regarding the Islamist ideology that provides the basis for Jihadist terrorism. CAIR uses as one of its slogans "ignorance is the enemy." They are close - ignorance about the enemy's ideology is the real problem in fighting a war of ideas with Islamists.

But to address this strategic war of ideas, America needs to be willing to recognize that we should not grant special treatment to those hostile to our values. In facing the challenge of Jihadist terrorism, we need to be able to name and discuss the enemy's ideology.

http://www.investigativeproject.org/article/733
« Last Edit: February 16, 2009, 03:55:58 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2008, 10:34:54 PM »

Huss:

I took the liberty of renaming your thread to what I think will be a better indicator of where we are looking to go with this thread.

Marc
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2008, 10:48:39 AM »

THE FRAGILITY OF ISLAMOFASCISM     
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler     
Thursday, 01 February 2007 

[This is the text of a speech I am giving to the Council for National Policy at Amelia Island, Florida, Friday, February 2.]

Let me tell you a story.  In the 1980s, I spent a fair amount of time with various anti-Soviet guerrilla insurgencies in places like Nicaragua, Angola, Mozambique, and Afghanistan.

It was the most extraordinary experience to be with the Afghan Mujahaddin as they took on the Red Army of the Soviet Union armed at first with little more than pre-World War One bolt action rifles.

I made many friends among them as we risked our lives together.  They were, of course, all Moslems.  They never skipped their prayers, unless there was an actual battle going on.  Never once did they bug me about my religion.  Never once did it occur to me they considered me an "infidel."

My closest friend among them was the principal aide to Burhanuddin Rabbani, leader of the largest group of Mujahaddin, known as Jamiat.  His name was Abdul Rahim.  One day, Rahim asked me if I would consider becoming a Moslem.  The question startled me and I hemmed and hawed.  "Can I tell you why I'd like you to?" he asked.  I said sure.

"It is because then we will be friends in heaven."

It was a gesture of pure friendship.  It was the farthest thing from spreading a religion by the sword.  Rahim simply wanted our friendship to continue after we died.  It really touched me and I told him so.

But no, I didn't become a Moslem.

It has been my good fortune to experience a great deal of the world and get to know people from close to 200 countries.  There is a common humanity shared by most folks around the globe.  The fact that there has never been a war between two genuine democracies clearly shows that most people prefer peace to war, and simply want a decent life for their families and children.

Yet as we all know, history is full of examples of people going berserk, falling victim to some frenzied hysteria.  It can be a frenzy of paranoia, such as the lunacy we are currently experiencing over "global warming."  It can be a frenzy of greed, like the dotcom bubble or the Tulip Craze. 

The worst are frenzies of criminal insanity, like the Gulag Communism of the Soviet Union, the National Socialism of Hitler's Germany, or the barbaric imperialism of Tojo's Japan.

An entire people like the Germans or Japanese can go criminally, murderously nuts.  Such mass criminality has to be ended by whatever means necessary.  But once the frenzy is over, the people crazed by it can become normal human beings again.

Just such a mass criminal insanity has today taken over the minds of a substantial fraction of the world's Moslems.

The appropriate name for this phenomenon is Islamofascism, the distillation of the very worst aspects of the Islamic religion into an ideology of fascist bullying and bloodshed.

The absolute last thing we are involved in here is a "clash of civilizations."  Our civilization is in a fight to the death with a sub-human barbarism.  With folks who believe in a Whorehouse Heaven which they can get into by blowing themselves up in order to murder women and children.  With grotesque distortions of humanity whose souls are filled with savagery and whose greatest desire is live in the 7th century.

We often hear the prediction that our struggle with Islamofascist barbarism is going to last for so many years into the future that no one can see the end of it.

Maybe it will. Maybe it will be a war our grandchildren will be fighting when they're our age. But no analysis of the war shows that it must be this way. It's just a prediction, one which could turn out to be dramatically wrong. It's entirely possible that the War on Islamofascism could be won quickly.

It was in 1984 that I gave my first speech to CNP.  It was entitled The Coming Collapse of the Soviet Union.  There are a few fellow old-timers right here who were there.  Most people back then couldn't even imagine a world in which the Soviet Union had ceased to exist.

Yet I went on to predict something even more unimaginable -- that the Soviet collapse wasn't far off in the distant future, but that it was coming fast.

This was because, I argued, that the structure of the Soviet Empire, including the Soviet Union itself, was brittle. A brittle physical structure, like a glass, can be unchanging and unyielding -- but if the right stress is placed upon it, it doesn't slowly give or crumble, it shatters. One minute it looks like it always has, the next moment it's in pieces.

Social structures can be brittle in the same way -- which is why the result of the stress placed upon it by the Reagan Doctrine was that the Soviet Union shattered virtually overnight.

The phenomenon of Islamofascism is not a social structure -- it is a psychological structure; it is not located in any physical or geographical space, but in certain people's minds. It is thus not a political or social or economic event, it is a mental event. If we want to get rid of it, we must understand and dissect it as such.

Islamofascism is a frenzy, a mass delusion.  What all such mass delusions have in common is an incredibly intense psychological energy that is impervious to reason, reality, and morality.

That is the strength of these mass frenzies. Their weakness is that the energy, however intense, is inherently unstable -- in fact, the more intense, the more unstable.  There is thus a fragility to them. They spring into a roaring existence, wreak their havoc, then vanish. They are ephemeral.

Thus if we focus our efforts on destabilizing the Islamofascist frenzy, we can get rid of fast - as fast as we got rid of the Soviet Union.

That is why Steve Baldwin and I have called for The Creation of an Anti-Islamofascism Movement targeting the psychological fragility of Islamofascists.

They have, for example, amazingly thin skins.  Like a schoolyard bully, they can dish it out but they can't take it.  They taught us this lesson with their outrage over the Danish cartoons.  They can't handle mockery, being made fun of.

That's why I wrote a column in To The Point entitled Terrorism and Tiny Zibbs.  "Zibb" is Arabic slang for the male organ.  The most basic passion of radical Moslems is not hatred, hatred of infidel America - it's fear, their fear of women, causing their obsession to veil them, control them, and treat them as sub-human.

Only men with little zibbs are afraid of women.  That's why Osama has such a teeny tiny little zibb.

You're laughing - and that's just we need to do:  laugh at these bozos.  They can't stand being laughed at - it's their Achilles Heel.  We need to make fun of them, ridicule them, taunt them, poke holes in their thin skins endlessly and relentlessly.  Hit them where it hurts the most - their false inflated sense of phony pride.

The flip side of laughing at Islamofascists is to have zero tolerance for their bullying.  That means prosecuting not placating Flying Imams.  It means denouncing CAIR as a apologists for Islamofascist terrorism.  It mean requiring Islam to accept a new definition of the word islam, which is Arabic for submission.

The claim is that such submission means to submit to the will of Allah.  The reality is that is means submission of infidels to Moslems.  Now it must mean the submission of Islamofascist Moslems to the basic freedoms and human rights of the civilized world.

In addition to mocking their thin skins and standing up to their bullying, we need to instill doubt into fragile Islamofascist minds.  It is easy to infect a robotic unthinking mind with the mental virus of doubt.  For example:

You've all heard of Ayatollah Khomeini issuing a death fatwa on Salmon Rusdie for writing a book called The Satanic Verses.  It's a lousy book that hasn't anything to do with the great hidden scandal of Islam - just the title alone is what set Khomeini off.

The real Satanic Verses of the Koran are those of Sura, or chapter 53.  Remember that  Moslems believe every word in the Koran is the actual voice of Allah.  In verses 19-22, Allah mentions his daughters, al-Lat, al-Uzza and Manat.  This mention of goddesses means polytheism, the big Islamic No-No. 

So every orthodox biography of Mohammed says that he was tricked by Satan into believing Allah said this, and had to change the original version of the verses.

The terrible secret of the Satanic Verses is that if Old Mo was fooled by Beelzebub once, why maybe he was fooled in other Koranic verses, and then maybe, just maybe, the whole Koranic enterprise starts to crumble.

The scandal of the Satanic Verses provides a marvelous mental virus.  The great problem for any moderate Moslem is that the Koran is larded with verses supporting Islamofascism, in which Allah advocates slavery, thievery, beheading unbelievers and cutting their fingers off, killing apostates, on and on.

This means we can divide the Koran into two.  Published in the original classical Arabic and various language translations, the first section would be the Koran of Allah containing all the non-offensive verses compatible with civilization.  The second section would be the Koran of Satan, with all the Islamofascist verses compiled together and condemned as the words of the devil and not of god. 

Mohammed was fooled more than he knew, you see, there's lots more Satanic Verses, so neither he nor Allah can be accused of slavery and butchery.  This gives moderate Moslems an out, a way to keep their religion without having to accept all the 7th century primitivism.

This is one example of many.  By ceasing to be defensive towards Islamofascism, by going on the offensive and targeting its vulnerabilities, its fragility, an Anti-Islamofascism Movement can put an end to this frenzy.

We cannot, of course, rid the world of Islam.  But we can destabilize the frenzy of Islamofascism, and rid the world of its bullying and terror.  Then the world's Moslems can focus again on having a decent life for their families and children, and get along with the rest of the world.

Just as the Anti-Communism Movement won the Cold War and defeated the Soviet Union, an Anti-Islamofascism Movement can win this war.  I hope you will all join me, Steve Baldwin, Frank Gaffney, and others in doing so.  Thank you all very much.
 
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G M
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2008, 06:21:18 AM »

Here is the problem with Dr. Wheeler's hoped for fragility; Mohammed was criticized and mocked during his lifetime. Once Mohammed gained power, he had those that criticized and mocked him tortured and killed. That's been islam's default response ever since.

Ask Theo VanGogh how this strategy worked in the Netherlands.....   sad
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2008, 09:17:35 AM »

By his own description, Geert Wilders is not a typical Dutch politician. "We are a country of consensus," he tells me on a recent Saturday morning at his midtown Manhattan hotel. "I hate consensus. I like confrontation. I am not a consensus politician. . . . This is something that is really very un-Dutch."

 
Zina SaundersYet the 45-year-old Mr. Wilders says he is the most famous politician in the Netherlands: "Everybody knows me. . . . There is no other politician -- not even the prime minister -- who is as well-known. . . . People hate me, or they love me. There's nothing in between. There is no gray area."

To his admirers, Mr. Wilders is a champion of Western values on a continent that has lost confidence in them. To his detractors, he is an anti-Islamic provocateur. Both sides have a point.

In March, Mr. Wilders released a short film called "Fitna," a harsh treatment of Islam that begins by interspersing inflammatory Quran passages with newspaper and TV clips depicting threats and acts of violent jihad. The second half of the film, titled "The Netherlands Under the Spell of Islam," warns that Holland's growing Muslim population -- which more than doubled between 1990 and 2004, to 944,000, some 5.8% of the populace -- poses a threat to the country's traditional liberal values. Under the heading, "The Netherlands in the future?!" it shows brutal images from Muslim countries: men being hanged for homosexuality, a beheaded woman, another woman apparently undergoing genital mutilation.

Making such a film, Mr. Wilders knew, was a dangerous act. In November 2004, Theo van Gogh was assassinated on an Amsterdam street in retaliation for directing a film called "Submission" about Islam's treatment of women. The killer, Mohammed Bouyeri, left a letter on van Gogh's body threatening Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the film's writer and narrator.

Ms. Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia, had renounced Islam and been elected to the Dutch Parliament, where she was an ally of Mr. Wilders. Both belonged to the center-right People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, known by the Dutch acronym VVD. Both took a hard line on what they saw as an overly accommodationist policy toward the Netherlands' Muslim minority. They argued that radical imams "should be stripped of their nationality," that their mosques should be closed, and that "we should be strong in defending the rights of women," Mr. Wilders tells me.

This made them dissenters within the VVD. "We got into trouble every week," Mr. Wilders recalls. "We were like children going to their parents if they did something wrong, because every week they hassled us. . . . We really didn't care what anybody said. If the factional leadership said, 'Well, you cannot go to this TV program,' for us it was an incentive to go, not not to go. So we were a little bit of two mavericks, rebels if you like."

Mr. Wilders finally quit the party over its support for opening negotiations to admit Turkey into the European Union. That was in September 2004. "Two months later, Theo van Gogh was killed, and the whole world changed," says Mr. Wilders. He and Ms. Hirsi Ali both went into hiding; he still travels with bodyguards. After a VVD rival threatened to strip Ms. Hirsi Ali's citizenship over misstatements on her 1992 asylum application, she left Parliament and took a fellowship at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. Mr. Wilders stayed on and formed the Party for Freedom, or PVV. In 2006 it became Parliament's fifth-largest party, with nine seats in the 150-member lower chamber.

Having his own party liberates Mr. Wilders to speak his mind. As he sees it, the West suffers from an excess of toleration for those who do not share its tradition of tolerance. "We believe that -- 'we' means the political elite -- that all cultures are equal," he says. "I believe this is the biggest disease today facing Europe. . . . We should wake up and tell ourselves: You're not a xenophobe, you're not a racist, you're not a crazy guy if you say, 'My culture is better than yours.' A culture based on Christianity, Judaism, humanism is better. Look at how we treat women, look at how we treat apostates, look at how we go with the separation of church and state. I can give you 500 examples why our culture is better."

He acknowledges that "the majority of Muslims in Europe and America are not terrorists or violent people." But he says "it really doesn't matter that much, because if you don't define your own culture as the best, dominant one, and you allow through immigration people from those countries to come in, at the end of the day you will lose your own identity and your own culture, and your society will change. And our freedom will change -- all the freedoms we have will change."

The murder of van Gogh lends credence to this warning, as does the Muhammad cartoon controversy of 2005 in Denmark. As for "Fitna," it has not occasioned a violent response, but its foes have made efforts to suppress it. A Dutch Muslim organization went to court seeking to enjoin its release on the ground that, in Mr. Wilders's words, "it's not in the interest of Dutch security." The plaintiffs also charged Mr. Wilders with blasphemy and inciting hatred. Mr. Wilders thought the argument frivolous, but decided to pre-empt it: "The day before the verdict, I broadcasted ['Fitna'] . . . not because I was not confident in the outcome, but I thought: I'm not taking any chance, I'm doing it. And it was legal, because there was not a verdict yet." The judge held that the national-security claim was moot and ruled in Mr. Wilders's favor on the issues of blasphemy and incitement.

Dutch television stations had balked at broadcasting the film, and satellite companies refused to carry it even for a fee. So Mr. Wilders released it online. The British video site LiveLeak.com soon pulled the film, citing "threats to our staff of a very serious nature," but put it back online a few days later. ("Fitna" is still available on LiveLeak, as well as on other sites such as YouTube and Google Video.)

An organization called The Netherlands Shows Its Colors filed a criminal complaint against Mr. Wilders for "inciting hatred." In June, Dutch prosecutors declined to pursue the charge, saying in a statement: "That comments are hurtful and offensive for a large number of Muslims does not mean that they are punishable." The group is appealing the prosecutors' decision.

In July, a Jordanian prosecutor, acting on a complaint from a pressure group there, charged Mr. Wilders with blasphemy and other crimes. The Netherlands has no extradition treaty with Jordan, but Mr. Wilders worries -- and the head of the group that filed the complaint has boasted -- that the indictment could restrict his ability to travel. Mr. Wilders says he does not visit a foreign country without receiving an assurance that he will not be arrested and extradited.

"The principle is not me -- it's not about Geert Wilders," he says. "If you look at the press and the rest of the political elite in the Netherlands, nobody cares. Nobody gives a damn. This is the worst thing, maybe. . . . A nondemocratic country cannot use the international or domestic legal system to silence you. . . . If this starts, we can get rid of all parliaments, and we should close down every newspaper, and we should shut up and all pray to Mecca five times a day."

It is difficult to fault Mr. Wilders's impassioned defense of free speech. And although the efforts to silence him via legal harassment have proved far from successful, he rightly points out that they could have a chilling effect, deterring others from speaking out.

Mr. Wilders's views on Islam, though, are problematic. Since 9/11, American political leaders have struggled with the question of how to describe the ideology of the enemy without making enemies of the world's billion or so Muslims. The various terms they have tried -- "Islamic extremism," "Islamism," "Islamofascism" -- have fallen short of both clarity and melioration. Melioration is not Mr. Wilders's highest priority, and to him the truth couldn't be clearer: The problem is Islam itself. "I see Islam more as an ideology than as a religion," he explains.

In today's Opinion Journal
 
His own view of Islam is a fundamentalist one: "According to the Quran, there are no moderate Muslims. It's not Geert Wilders who's saying that, it's the Quran . . . saying that. It's many imams in the world who decide that. It's the people themselves who speak about it and talk about the terrible things -- the genital mutilation, the honor killings. This is all not Geert Wilders, but those imams themselves who say this is the best way of Islam."

Yet he insists that his antagonism toward Islam reflects no antipathy toward Muslims: "I make a distinction between the ideology . . . and the people. . . . There are people who call themselves Muslims and don't subscribe to the full part of the Quran. And those people, of course, we should invest [in], we should talk to." He says he would end Muslim immigration to the Netherlands but work to assimilate those already there.

His idea of how to do so, however, seems unlikely to win many converts: "You have to give up this stupid, fascist book" -- the Quran. "This is what you have to do. You have to give up that book."

Mr. Wilders is right to call for a vigilant defense of liberal principles. A society has a right, indeed a duty, to require that religious minorities comply with secular rules of civilized behavior. But to demand that they renounce their religious identity and holy books is itself an affront to liberal principles.

Mr. Taranto, a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, writes the Best of the Web Today column for OpinionJournal.com
« Last Edit: November 29, 2008, 09:24:05 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
captainccs
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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2008, 03:57:20 PM »

Islam is a conquering culture/religion and it has always been. Officially founded in 622 AD, by 732 Islam had conquered half the world when it was stopped at Tours by Charles the Hammer (Charles Martel). That conquest was accomplished in barely 110 years and they didn't have any modern transportation. They did it on horses and camels. After being quiescent for a few centuries they are at it again. The West must decide if it wants to be conquered and subjugated. If not, better fight back now.

An eye opening and scary video about Islam from Australia:

What Islam is Not | Australian Nationalist Resource


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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2008, 04:49:47 PM »

THE FRAGILITY OF ISLAMOFASCISM     
Written by Dr. Jack Wheeler     
Thursday, 01 February 2007 

[This is the text of a speech I am giving to the Council for National Policy at Amelia Island, Florida, Friday, February 2.]

[snip]

It was in 1984 that I gave my first speech to CNP.  It was entitled The Coming Collapse of the Soviet Union.  There are a few fellow old-timers right here who were there.  Most people back then couldn't even imagine a world in which the Soviet Union had ceased to exist.

Yet I went on to predict something even more unimaginable -- that the Soviet collapse wasn't far off in the distant future, but that it was coming fast.

Dr. Jack Wheeler is not the only one who thinks Islamofascism is ready to crumble.

Quote
The End of Islam

By God's grace, we are living in momentous times, which could be the beginning of the end of Islam.


Muslim states are the most severe persecutors of Christians and radical Muslim extremists are the most vicious terrorists, hijackers, kidnappers, suicide bombers and assassins in the world today.


The piece is too long to post but here is the link: The End of Islam
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2009, 08:03:02 PM »

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-dershowitz10-2009jan10,0,4232460.story?track=rss
From the Los Angeles Times
Opinion
Hamas' war crimes
In Gaza, it targets Israeli citizens with rockets, then shields its fighters behind Palestinian civilians.
By Alan M. Dershowitz

January 10, 2009

Atemporary cease-fire in Gaza that simply allows Hamas to obtain more lethal weapons will assure a repetition of Hamas' win-win tactic of firing rockets at Israeli civilians while using Palestinian civilians as human shields.

The best example of Hamas' double war crime tactic was Tuesday, when it succeeded in sending a rocket to a town less than 20 miles south of Tel Aviv and injuring a child. At the same time, it provoked Israel to attack a United Nations school from which Hamas was launching its rockets. Residents of the neighborhood said two Hamas fighters were in the area at the time, and the Israeli military said they had been killed, according to the New York Times.

The Hamas tactic of firing rockets from schools, hospitals and mosques dates back to 2005, when Israel ended its occupation of Gaza. Several months ago, the head of the Israeli air force showed me a videotape (now available on YouTube) of a Hamas terrorist deliberately moving his rocket launcher to the front of a U.N. school, firing a rocket and then running away, no doubt hoping that Israel would then respond by attacking the rocket launcher and thus killing Palestinian children in the school.

This is the Hamas dual strategy: to kill and injure as many Israeli civilians as possible by firing rockets indiscriminately at Israeli civilian targets, and to provoke Israel to kill as many Palestinian civilians as possible to garner world sympathy.

Lest there be any doubt about this, recall the recent case of Nizar Rayan, the Hamas terrorist and commander killed in Gaza by an Israeli missile strike Jan. 1. Israeli authorities had warned him that he was a legitimate military target, as was his home, which was a storage site for rockets. This is the same man who in 2001 sent one of his sons on a suicide mission to blow himself up at a Jewish settlement in Gaza. Rayan had the option of moving his family to a safe area. Instead, his four wives and children remained with him and became martyrs as Israel targeted his home for destruction.

Hamas leaders have echoed the mantra of Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, that "we are going to win because they love life and we love death."

It is difficult to fight an enemy that loves death in a world that loves life. The world tends to think emotionally rather than rationally when it is shown dead women and children who are deliberately placed in harm's way by Hamas. Instead of asking who was really to blame for these civilian deaths, people place responsibility on those who fired the fatal shots.

Consider a related situation: An armed bank robber kills several tellers and takes a customer hostage. Hiding behind his human shield, the robber continues to kill civilians. A police officer, trying to prevent further killings, shoots at the robber but accidentally kills the hostage. Who is guilty of murder? Not the police officer who fired the fatal shot but the bank robber who fired from behind the human shield.

The international law of war, likewise, makes it a war crime to use human shields in the way Hamas does. It also makes it a war crime for Hamas to target Israeli civilians with anti-personnel rockets loaded with ball bearings and shrapnel designed to kill as many civilians as possible.

In Lebanon in 2006, Hezbollah used this same tactic in its war with Israel, setting up civilians to be in harm's way of Israeli responses to rocket fire. When Israel accidentally killed civilians, Hezbollah celebrated them as martyrs. Similarly, the Hamas leadership quietly celebrates the deaths they provoke by causing Israel to fire at its rocket launchers, treating the dead Palestinian civilians as martyrs. The New York Times reported Friday that a wounded fighter was smiling at the suffering of civilians, saying "they should be happy" because they "lost their loved ones as martyrs."

The best proof of Hamas' media strategy of manipulating sympathy is the way it dealt with a rocket it fired the day before Israel's airstrikes began. The rocket fell short of its target in Israel and landed in Gaza, killing two young Palestinian girls. Hamas, which exercises total control of Gaza, censored any video coverage of those deaths. Although there were print reports, no one saw pictures of these two dead Palestinian children because they were killed by Palestinian rockets rather than by Israeli rockets. Hamas knows that pictures are more powerful than words. That is probably why Israel has -- mistakenly in my view -- kept foreign journalists from entering the war zone.

Israel must continue to try to stop the Hamas rockets that endanger more than a million Israeli civilians. It also must continue to do everything in its power to avoid Palestinian civilian casualties, not only because that is the right thing to do but because every Palestinian death plays into the hands of Hamas' leaders.

A bad day for Hamas is a day in which its rockets fail to kill or injure any Israeli civilians and Israel kills no Palestinian civilians. That is what Israel and the world must strive for. Hamas knows that the moment it ends its policy of firing rockets at Israeli civilians from behind the shield of Palestinian civilians, Israel will end its military activities in Gaza. That is precisely the result Hamas does not want to achieve.

Alan M. Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard University. He is the author of many books, including, most recently, "The Case Against Israel's Enemies."
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« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2009, 09:49:07 PM »

2nd Post

ANDRÉ GLUCKSMAN

On “Disproportion”

In Gaza, as everywhere, the word is irrelevant.

9 January 2009

When conflicts erupt, public opinion tends to divide between absolutists who have decided once and for all who is right and who is wrong, and more cautious people who judge a particular act as appropriate or not according to circumstances, prepared, if necessary, to withhold judgment pending further information. The confrontation in Gaza, as bloody and awful as it is, nevertheless contains a gleam of hope. For the first time in the conflict in the Middle East, the fanatical absolutists seem to be in the minority. The discussion among Israelis (Is this the right time for war? How far should we go? How long?) proceeds as expected in a democracy. What is surprising is that the Palestinians and their supporters are taking part in a similar public debate, to the point that, even after Israel’s launching of punitive operations, Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, found the courage to attribute initial responsibility for the suffering of Gaza’s civilians to Hamas, which had broken its truce with Israel.

Unfortunately, the reaction of global public opinion—the media, diplomats, and moral and political authorities—seems to lag behind the thinking of those who are directly concerned. We cannot avoid the word that is on everyone’s lips and bolsters another kind of absolutism—the word that magisterially condemns Israeli acts as “disproportionate.” Captions on pictures of Gaza under attack express a universal and immediate consensus: Israel acts disproportionately. News reports and commentaries add other terms as opportunities present themselves: “massacre,” “total war.” At least the word “genocide” has been avoided so far. Will the memory of the so-called “Jenin genocide,” so often evoked before being discredited as a fiction, continue to restrain the worst of these verbal excesses? In any case, the absolute and a priori condemnation of the Jewish outrage defines the dominant line of thought in most parts of the world.

“Disproportionate,” of course, refers to what is out of proportion—either because no proportion has ever existed, or because an existing proportion has been broken or violated. It is the second meaning that is intended by those who castigate the Israelis for their reprisals, which are judged to be excessive, incongruous, and inappropriate, a violation of limits and norms. The implication is that there is a normal state of the Israel-Hamas conflict, some equilibrium that the Israeli military’s aggressiveness has disturbed—as if the conflict were not, like every serious conflict, disproportionate from the outset.

What is this correct proportion that Israel is supposed to respect in order to deserve the favor of world opinion? Should the Israeli army refrain from employing its technical supremacy and limit itself to the weapons that Hamas uses—that is to say, crude rockets and stones? Should it feel free to adopt the strategy of suicide bombers and the deliberate targeting of civilians? Or, better still, would it be appropriate for Israel to wait patiently until Hamas, with the help of Iran and Syria, is able to “balance” Israel’s firepower? Or might it be necessary to level the playing field regarding not only means but also aims? Hamas, unlike the Palestinian Authority, refuses to recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist and dreams of the annihilation of its citizens; should Israel match this radicalism?

Every conflict, whether dormant or boiling, is by its nature “disproportionate.” If the adversaries agreed on the use of means and on each other’s claims, they would not be adversaries. Conflict necessarily implies disagreement, and thus the effort of each camp to exploit its advantages as well as the other’s weaknesses. The Israeli army is doing just that when it “profits” from its technical superiority. And Hamas does no differently when it uses Gaza’s population as a human shield, unhindered by the moral scruples or diplomatic imperatives that constrain its adversary.

To work for peace in the Middle East, we must escape the temptations of absolutism, which entice not only fanatical hard-liners but also angelic souls who imagine that some sacred “proportion” would bring a providential balance to murderous conflicts. In the Middle East, the conflict concerns not only the enforcement of rules of the game, but their establishment. One has every right to discuss freely the appropriateness of a given military or diplomatic initiative, but not to imagine that the problem is soluble in advance by the ostensible right-thinking of world opinion. To wish to survive is not disproportionate.

André Glucksmann is a French philosopher. Translated from the French by Alexis Cornel.

http://www.city-journal.org/2009/eon0109ag.html
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« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2009, 10:30:30 PM »

Israel kills 30 civilians at shelter, witnesses tell U.N.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Israeli sources denied it ordered civilians moved "from one building into another"
Red Cross uncharacteristically says Israel failed to abide by humanitarian law
Children, wounded taken to ambulances on a donkey cart, Red Cross says

 From Kevin Flower
CNN
 
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli forces shelled a house where they had ordered about 100 Palestinian civilians to take shelter, killing about 30 people and wounding many more, witnesses told the U.N.


Ambulance drivers wait for Israel and the Red Cross to give them the green light Thursday to leave Gaza City.
more photos »

Israel Defense Forces said it is looking into the allegations.

"Credible eyewitness accounts" described the incident, which occurred in the volatile Gaza City suburb of Zeitoun, said Allegra Pacheco, deputy head of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the Palestinian territories. Pacheco spoke to CNN on Friday.

Witnesses reported that "about 100 civilians were evacuated" to a house Sunday, and the structure was shelled Monday, she said. The witnesses told the U.N. that two of the survivors said their children died.

"There was no order given to move civilians from one building into another," Israeli security sources said.

However, Pacheco said, "The eyewitness accounts that we have received state that the IDF ordered them to go into this house."  See images from the conflict (Warning: graphic images) »

Officials are simply passing along witness reports and not making "accusations of deliberate actions or any legal conclusions on the part of the IDF," Pacheco said.

"There needs to be further fact-finding on what occurred in this house," she said, adding that U.N. officials have yet to speak to the IDF and the Israeli government.

Don't Miss
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In Depth: Gaza crisis
Her remarks came a day after the International Committee of the Red Cross issued a blunt press release saying ambulances obtained access to several houses in Zeitoun "affected by Israel shelling," days after they asked to go into the neighborhood.

The release slammed Israel -- an uncharacteristic move for the agency, which is known for its neutrality and quiet, behind-the-scenes activities.

According to the release, the ICRC had wanted "safe passage for ambulances" to the neighborhood since Saturday, but didn't receive IDF permission until Wednesday.

The ICRC and the Palestine Red Crescent Society "found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up. In all, there were 12 corpses lying on mattresses," the ICRC said.  Watch how the conflict is taking a toll on children »

Rescue teams found 15 wounded people and three corpses in other houses, said the ICRC, which casts the shelling as a single incident.

"The ICRC believes that in this instance the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded. It considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable," the ICRC said.

Pacheco said she could not say if the incident witnesses described to the U.N. was the same incident in the ICRC report. But they took place in the same area, she said.

"In the Zeitoun area, it's been a closed area, and there has been fighting and there have been injured. There are other homes and buildings where there were injured who were not evacuated," she said.

Witnesses told the U.N. they had been calling for ambulances to collect dead and wounded people in the Zeitoun buildings, she said.

"This was very much similar to what the ICRC reported yesterday as to what the medical personnel found when they went into the neighborhood," Pacheco said.

The Israeli army built earthen walls that made ambulance access to the neighborhood impossible, the ICRC said.

"The children and the wounded had to be taken to the ambulances on a donkey cart," the ICRC said.

Pierre Wettach, the ICRC's head of delegation for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, called the shelling incident "shocking."  See how the Gaza conflict unfolded »

"The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded. Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestine Red Crescent to assist the wounded," he said in the ICRC news release.



Pacheco on Friday described "a serious protection crisis" in Gaza where civilians are "very vulnerable" to death and injury.

"There is no safe space for civilians. There are no bomb shelters, safe havens, places to flee," she said.
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2009, 08:45:05 AM »

JDN,

You need to start a thread called "Articulating for Islamic Fascism" where you can post your HAMAS/UN propaganda and maybe choice bits from the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion".
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2009, 09:22:41 AM »

Just trying for a little balance on this forum; there really are two sides to this issue.   evil  Note, today's headlines;

Thousands of demonstrators marched through cities across Europe on Saturday, calling for an immediate end to Israel's attacks on Gaza.
Up to 20,000 people were gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in London, England, at the peak of protests there, London Metropolitan Police said.


And I try not to post excerpts from Palestinian news sources or obviously biased blogs.  That would be too easy and equally wrong.  But I think it
is reasonable to report history accurately and not simply gloss over "negatives".  I believe one of the rules on this forum
is to "seek Truth". 
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2009, 09:41:58 AM »

Anything from the corrupt UN, especially it's entities that act as direct facilitators of palestinian terrorism isn't truth. And you might pay attention to the rabid antisemitism expressed in the world wide protests by the jihadists and their leftist allies.
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2009, 10:45:18 AM »

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/hamas-gaza-jewish-2277487-muslims-state#

Friday, January 9, 2009
Mark Steyn: The 'oldest hatred' lives, from Gaza to Florida
Jew-hating pathologies ultimately harm the Jew-hater, too.

Mark Steyn
Syndicated columnist

In Toronto, anti-Israel demonstrators yell "You are the brothers of pigs!," and a protester complains to his interviewer that "Hitler didn't do a good job."
In Fort Lauderdale, Palestinian supporters sneer at Jews, "You need a big oven, that's what you need!"
In Amsterdam, the crowd shouts, "Hamas, Hamas! Jews to the gas!"
In Paris, the state-owned TV network France-2 broadcasts film of dozens of dead Palestinians killed in an Israeli air raid on New Year's Day. The channel subsequently admits that, in fact, the footage is not from Jan. 1, 2009, but from 2005, and, while the corpses are certainly Palestinian, they were killed when a truck loaded with Hamas explosives detonated prematurely while leaving the Jabaliya refugee camp in another of those unfortunate work-related accidents to which Gaza is sadly prone. Conceding that the Palestinians supposedly killed by Israel were, alas, killed by Hamas, France-2 says the footage was broadcast "accidentally."
In Toulouse, a synagogue is firebombed; in Bordeaux, two kosher butchers are attacked; at the Auber RER train station, a Jewish man is savagely assaulted by 20 youths taunting, "Palestine will kill the Jews"; in Villiers-le-Bel, a Jewish schoolgirl is brutally beaten by a gang jeering, "Jews must die."
In Helsingborg, Sweden, the congregation at a synagogue takes shelter as a window is broken and burning cloths thrown in. in Odense, principal Olav Nielsen announces that he will no longer admit Jewish children to the local school after a Dane of Lebanese extraction goes to the shopping mall and shoots two men working at the Dead Sea Products store. in Brussels, a Molotov cocktail is hurled at a synagogue; in Antwerp, Netherlands, lit rags are pushed through the mail flap of a Jewish home; and, across the Channel in Britain, "youths" attempt to burn the Brondesbury Park Synagogue.
In London, the police advise British Jews to review their security procedures because of potential revenge attacks. The Sun reports "fears" that "Islamic extremists" are drawing up a "hit list" of prominent Jews, including the Foreign Secretary, Amy Winehouse's record producer and the late Princess of Wales' divorce lawyer. Meanwhile, The Guardian reports that Islamic nonextremists from the British Muslim Forum, the Islamic Foundation and other impeccably respectable "moderate" groups have warned the government that the Israelis' "disproportionate force" in Gaza risks inflaming British Muslims, "reviving extremist groups," and provoking "UK terrorist attacks" – not against Amy Winehouse's record producer and other sinister members of the International Jewish Conspiracy but against targets of, ah, more general interest.
Forget, for the moment, Gaza. Forget that the Palestinian people are the most comprehensively wrecked people on the face of the Earth. For the past 60 years they have been entrusted to the care of the United Nations, the Arab League, the PLO, Hamas and the "global community" – and the results are pretty much what you'd expect.
You would have to be very hardhearted not to weep at the sight of dead Palestinian children, but you would also have to accord a measure of blame to the Hamas officials who choose to use grade schools as launch pads for Israeli-bound rockets, and to the U.N. refugee agency that turns a blind eye to it. And, even if you don't deplore Fatah and Hamas for marinating their infants in a sick death cult in which martyrdom in the course of Jew-killing is the greatest goal to which a citizen can aspire, any fair-minded visitor to the West Bank or Gaza in the decade and a half in which the "Palestinian Authority" has exercised sovereign powers roughly equivalent to those of the nascent Irish Free State in 1922 would have to concede that the Palestinian "nationalist movement" has a profound shortage of nationalists interested in running a nation, or indeed capable of doing so. There is fault on both sides, of course, and Israel has few good long-term options. But, if this was a conventional ethno-nationalist dispute, it would have been over long ago.
So, as I said, forget Gaza. And, instead, ponder the reaction to Gaza in Scandinavia, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and golly, even Florida. As the delegitimization of Israel has metastasized, we are assured that criticism of the Jewish state is not the same as anti-Semitism. We are further assured that anti-Zionism is not the same as anti-Semitism, which is a wee bit more of a stretch.
Only Israel attracts an intellectually respectable movement querying its very existence. For the purposes of comparison, let's take a state that came into existence at the exact same time as the Zionist Entity, and involved far bloodier population displacements. I happen to think the creation of Pakistan was the greatest failure of post-war British imperial policy. But the fact is that Pakistan exists, and if I were to launch a movement of anti-Pakism it would get pretty short shrift.
But, even allowing for that, what has a schoolgirl in Villiers-le-Bel to do with Israeli government policy? Just weeks ago, terrorists attacked Mumbai, seized hostages, tortured them, killed them, and mutilated their bodies. The police intercepts of the phone conversations between the terrorists and their controllers make for lively reading:
"Pakistan caller 1: 'Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims. Keep your phone switched on so that we can hear the gunfire.'
"Mumbai terrorist 2: 'We have three foreigners, including women. From Singapore and China'
"Pakistan caller 1: 'Kill them.'
"(Voices of gunmen can be heard directing hostages to stand in a line, and telling two Muslims to stand aside. Sound of gunfire. Sound of cheering voices.)"
"Kill all hostages, except the two Muslims." Tough for those Singaporean women. Yet no mosques in Singapore have been attacked. The large Hindu populations in London, Toronto and Fort Lauderdale have not shouted "Muslims must die!" or firebombed Halal butchers or attacked hijab-clad schoolgirls. CAIR and other Muslim lobby groups' eternal bleating about "Islamophobia" is in inverse proportion to any examples of it. Meanwhile, "moderate Muslims" in London warn the government: "I'm a peaceful fellow myself, but I can't speak for my excitable friends. Nice little G7 advanced Western democracy you got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it."
But why worry about European Muslims? The European political and media class essentially shares the same view of the situation – to the point where state TV stations are broadcasting fake Israeli "war crimes."
As I always say, the "oldest hatred" didn't get that way without an ability to adapt: Once upon a time on the Continent, Jews were hated as rootless cosmopolitan figures who owed no national allegiance. So they became a conventional nation state, and now they're hated for that. And, if Hamas get their way and destroy the Jewish state, the few who survive will be hated for something else. So it goes.
But Jew-hating has consequences for the Jew-hater, too. A few years ago the poet Nizar Qabbani wrote an ode to the intifada:
O mad people of Gaza,
a thousand greetings to the mad
The age of political reason
has long departed
so teach us madness.
You can just about understand why living in Gaza would teach you madness. The enthusiastic adoption of the same pathologies by mainstream Europe is even more deranged – and in the end will prove just as self-destructive.
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captainccs
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2009, 11:01:35 AM »

And I try not to post excerpts from Palestinian news sources or obviously biased blogs.  That would be too easy and equally wrong. 


CNN is an "obviously biased" channel.
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2009, 11:09:59 AM »

http://islaminaction08.blogspot.com/2009/01/lapro-hamas-rally-use-jews-as-fossil.html

Pro-HAMAS protesters in LA.
 "Use Jews as fossil fuel".

How very California. The fusion of islam and environmentalism.
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2009, 09:39:44 PM »

For those who can't comprehend the evil that comprises Islamofascism, who can't understand that it needs to be confronted despite it's habit of hiding behind women and children, who believe 20,000 useful idiots somehow trump more immutable truths, I present this excerpt from an archaeological journal wherein the excavation of a Kurd mass grave is documented. The whole piece is well worth a read, but contains so many telling photos that it needs to be viewed in the original:

In May 1988, a prison guard checked Taymour Abdullah Ahmad's name off a list and directed him to a bus idling in the Popular Army camp in Topzawa, southwest of Kirkuk. The camp was one of Iraq's grimmest prisons. During his month-long internment there, the 12-year-old Kurdish boy watched guards beating male prisoners senseless with lengths of coaxial cable. He had seen four children weaken and then die of starvation. He stood helplessly as a guard stripped his father to his undershorts and led him off to his death. So Taymour was not sorry to see the last of Topzawa. He did not know that the paper in the guard's hand was an execution list.

The buses idling in the prison courtyard looked like ambulances. But this, Taymour soon discovered, was a cruel illusion; inside, they were squalid mobile prisons. The boy, his mother, and two younger sisters were forced into a dark air compartment that reeked of urine and feces. There was no toilet, no food, no water, no way out. The only ventilation came from a small, mesh-covered opening. By the time the bus pulled out, 60 or so frightened passengers--mainly Kurdish women and their young children--were crushed together in the stifling heat.

After more than 12 hours of travel, the bus bumped to a halt in the desert near the Saudi Arabian border. Taymour stepped into the cool night air and noticed at once that their bus, along with the 30 others in the convoy, had parked next to a large, shallow pit. Before he could take this in, however, a soldier pushed Taymour and his mother and sisters over the edge. Gunmen began firing. "When the first bullet hit me," Taymour later recalled, "I ran to a soldier and grabbed his hand." He had seen tears in the man's eyes, and instinctively reached toward him, hoping he would pull him out. But an officer watching nearby issued a command in Arabic, and the soldier shot Taymour. This time the boy fell to the ground, wounded in the left shoulder and lower back. He played dead until the gunmen moved away, then crawled out of the open grave and set off into the darkness. Several hours later, he reached a camp of Bedouins who took pity on him, hiding him in their tents.

http://www.archaeology.org/0901/etc/iraq.html
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2009, 10:11:55 PM »

An truly interesting/sad story that happened over 20 years ago to the young boy.

Since then over one million have died in Rwanda and probably 200,000+ have died in Darfur.  Not to mention
the hundreds of thousands killed by dictators and evil people around the world.  My point?  It had nothing to do with
the "evil" of Islam.  The world, in many places, is evil.  We are blessed in the USA.

But "20,000 useful idiots" (I am glad you consider them "useful")   evil  believe more killing is wrong.  Hard to refute.
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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2009, 11:27:21 PM »

An truly interesting/sad story that happened over 20 years ago to the young boy.

Since then over one million have died in Rwanda and probably 200,000+ have died in Darfur. 

**Darfur is very much the result of the global jihad.**

Not to mention
the hundreds of thousands killed by dictators and evil people around the world.  My point?  It had nothing to do with
the "evil" of Islam.  The world, in many places, is evil.  We are blessed in the USA.

**Wow. The first time JDN can say something nice about America. I'll be sure to remember this.**

But "20,000 useful idiots" (I am glad you consider them "useful")   evil  believe more killing is wrong.  Hard to refute.



August 07, 2006
Islam's Useful Idiots

By Amil Imani
Islam enjoys a large and influential ally among the non—Muslims: A new generation of 'Useful Idiots,' the sort of people Lenin identified living in liberal democracies who furthered the work of communism. This new generation of Useful Idiots also lives in liberal democracies, but serves the cause of Islamofascism—another virulent form of totalitarian ideology.

Useful Idiots are na?ve, foolish, ignorant of facts, unrealistically idealistic, dreamers, willfully in denial or deceptive. They hail from the ranks of the chronically unhappy, the anarchists, the aspiring revolutionaries, the neurotics who are at war with life, the disaffected alienated from government, corporations, and just about any and all institutions of society. The Useful Idiot can be a billionaire, a movie star, an academe of renown, a politician, or from any other segment of the population.

Arguably, the most dangerous variant of the Useful Idiot is the 'Politically Correct.' He is the master practitioner of euphemism, hedging, doubletalk, and outright deception.

The Useful Idiot derives satisfaction from being anti—establishment. He finds perverse gratification in aiding the forces that aim to dismantle an existing order, whatever it may be: an order he neither approves of nor he feels he belongs to.

The Useful Idiot is conflicted and dishonest. He fails to look inside himself and discover the causes of his own problems and unhappiness while he readily enlists himself in causes that validate his distorted perception.

Understandably, it is easier to blame others and the outside world than to examine oneself with an eye to self—discovery and self—improvement. Furthermore, criticizing and complaining—liberal practices of the Useful Idiot—require little talent and energy. The Useful Idiot is a great armchair philosopher and 'Monday Morning Quarterback.'

The Useful Idiot is not the same as a person who honestly has a different point of view. A society without honest and open differences of views is a dead society. Critical, different and fresh ideas are the life blood of a living society—the very anathema of autocracies where the official position is sacrosanct.

Even a 'normal' person spends a great deal more energy aiming to fix things out there than working to overcome his own flaws and shortcomings, or contribute positively to the larger society. People don't like to take stock of what they are doing or not doing that is responsible for the conditions they disapprove.

But the Useful Idiot takes things much farther. The Useful Idiot, among other things, is a master practitioner of scapegoating. He assigns blame to others while absolving himself of responsibility, has a long handy list of candidates for blaming anything and everything, and by living a distorted life, he contributes to the ills of society.

The Useful Idiot may even engage in willful misinformation and deception when it suits him. Terms such as 'Political Islam,' or 'Radical Islam,' for instance, are contributions of the Useful Idiot. These terms do not even exist in the native parlance of Islam, simply because they are redundant. Islam, by its very nature and according to its charter—the Quran—is a radical political movement. It is the Useful Idiot who sanitizes Islam and misguides the populace by saying that the 'real Islam' constitutes the main body of the religion; and, that this main body is non—political and moderate.

Regrettably, a large segment of the population goes along with these nonsensical euphemisms depicting Islam because it prefers to believe them. It is less threatening to believe that only a hijacked small segment of Islam is radical or politically driven and that the main body of Islam is indeed moderate and non—political.

But Islam is political to the core. In Islam the mosque and state are one and the same—the mosque is the state. This arrangement goes back to the days of Muhammad himself. Islam is also radical in the extreme. Even the 'moderate' Islam is radical in its beliefs as well as its deeds. Muslims believe that all non—Muslims, bar none, are hellfire bound and well—deserve being maltreated compared to believers.

No radical barbaric act of depravity is unthinkable for Muslims in dealing with others. They have destroyed precious statues of Buddha, leveled sacred monuments of other religions, and bulldozed the cemeteries of non—Muslims—a few examples of their utter extreme contempt toward others.

Muslims are radical even in their intrafaith dealings. Various sects and sub—sects pronounce other sects and sub—sects as heretics worthy of death; women are treated as chattel, deprived of many rights; hands are chopped for stealing even a loaf of bread; sexual violation is punished by stoning, and much much more. These are standard day—to—day ways of the mainstream 'moderate' Muslims living under the stone—age laws of Sharia.

The 'moderate' mainstream of Islam has been outright genocidal from inception. Their own historians record that Ali, the first imam of the Shiite and the son—in—law of Muhammad, with the help of another man, beheaded 700 Jewish men in the presence of the Prophet himself. The Prophet of Allah and his disciples took the murdered men's women and children in slavery. Muslims have been, and continue to be, the most vicious and shameless practitioners of slavery. The slave trade, even today, is a thriving business in some Islamic lands where wealthy, perverted sheikhs purchase children of the poor from traffickers for their sadistic gratification.

Muslims are taught deception and lying in the Quran itself—something that Muhammad practiced during his life whenever he found it expedient. Successive Islamic rulers and leaders have done the same. Khomeini, the founder of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, for instance, rallied the people under the banner of democracy. All along his support for democracy was not a commitment of an honest man, but a ruse. As soon as he gathered the reins of power, Khomeini went after the Useful Idiots of his time with vengeance. These best children of Iran, having been thoroughly deceived and used by the crafty phony populist—religionist, had to flee the country to avoid the fate of tens of thousands who were imprisoned or executed by the double—crossing imam.

Almost three decades after the tragic Islamic Revolution of 1979, the suffocating rule of Islam casts its death—bearing pal over Iranians. A proud people with enviable heritage is being systematically purged of its sense of identity and forced to think and behave like the barbaric and intolerant Muslims. Iranians who had always treated women with equality, for instance, have seen them reduced by the stone—age clergy to sub—human status of Islamic teaching. Any attempt by the women of Iran to counter the misogynist rule of Muhammad's mullahs is mercilessly suppressed. Women are beaten, imprisoned, raped and killed just as men are slaughtered without due process or mercy.

The lesson is clear. Beware of the Useful Idiots who live in liberal democracies. Knowingly or unknowingly, they serve as the greatest volunteer and effective soldiers of Islam. They pave the way for the advancement of Islam and they will assuredly be among the very first victims of Islam as soon as it assumes power.

Amil Imani is an Iranian—born American citizen and pro—democracy activist. He maintains a website at AmilImani.com


Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2006/08/islams_useful_idiots_1.html at January 12, 2009 - 12:25:41 AM EST
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captainccs
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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2009, 06:19:51 AM »

An truly interesting/sad story that happened over 20 years ago to the young boy.


I suppose for the video generation who can "Restart life" by pressing a button it is nothing more than an interesting story. But for those who were there it is more. That story, with a few changes, could be the story of my brother:

Age: 9 years
Date: December 24, 1944
Place: Budapest, Hungary
Mass grave: Danube river

For those of you who still think Islam is the religion of peace, I urge you to go to the source. I did. Read the Koran. NIne out of ten Koranic solutions consists of killing, maiming, stoning and otherwise destroying the enemy of Allah. If your enemy happens to be a fanatical Islamo-fascist, your only real alternative is to kill him before he kills you. It really is that simple. These people have been brainwashed into wishing death for themselves. They don't mind dying. Help them along!

The greatest warrior of modern times is, without any doubt, Sir Winston Churchill, who speaking to the Harrow School during WWII said:

Quote
But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period - I am addressing myself to the School - surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never-in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our songs, our School history, this part of the history of this country, were gone and finished and liquidated.

Never Give In, Never, Never, Never
October 29, 1941
Harrow School

Germany and Japan were not just defeated. They were crushed. The will to fight was beaten out of them. It was a cruel beating, tens of thousands incinerated in fire bombings and nuclear bombings. This solution still works today. A slap on the wrist will not cure a fanatic. A fanatic must be beaten until the will to fight his maniacal fight is no longer there.




http://mbatm27.wordpress.com/2007/07/05/never-give-in/
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 06:26:46 AM by captainccs » Logged

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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2009, 11:04:47 PM »


http://www.jerusalemonline.com/mosab.htm

http://www.jerusalemonline.com/yt1.asp

et seq!
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« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2009, 09:01:29 AM »

It isn't always that the words Allahu Akbar sound this sweet to Western ears.

It's a muggy Friday afternoon and I'm standing curbside right outside Iran's Permanent Mission to the U.N. in New York City. Preaching in Farsi is a turbaned Shiite imam named Mohsen Kadivar. Hours earlier, in Tehran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had delivered a bullying sermon at Tehran University, warning the opposition that they would be "responsible for bloodshed and chaos" if they continued to march. Mr. Kadivar's sermon -- punctuated by the Allahu Akbars of 20 or so kneeling worshippers -- is intended as a direct riposte. Allahu Akbar has also become the rallying cry of the demonstrators in Iran.

Mr. Kadivar, 50, is a well-known quantity in Iran. As a young engineering student he was arrested by the Shah's police for agitating against the regime. He later became a seminarian in Qom, where he studied under the increasingly liberal-leaning Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri. Like his teacher, who had once been the Ayatollah Khomeini's designated successor, Mr. Kadivar ran afoul of the regime. In 1999, he was arrested a second time and jailed for 18 months. He credits Mir Hossein Mousavi -- then a university faculty colleague of his -- for helping to spring him free. He's now teaching at Duke.

 
Iranian reformist clergyman Mohsen Kadivar.
Mr. Kadivar's chief claim to fame rests on a three-part work of political philosophy titled "The Theories of the State in Shiite Jurisprudence." At heart, it is a devastating theological critique of the Ayatollah Khomeini's notion of "the rule of the jurist" (Velayat e Faqih), which serves as the rationale for the near-dictatorial powers enjoyed by the Supreme Leader.

"The principle of Velayat e-Faqih is neither intuitively obvious nor rationally necessary," Mr. Kadivar wrote. "It is neither a requirement of religion nor a necessity for denomination. It is neither a part of Shiite general principles nor a component of detailed observances. It is, by near consensus of the Shiite Ulama, nothing more than a jurisprudential minor hypothesis."

Or, as Mr. Kadivar simplified it for me in an interview in the back of his van, "There are two interpretations of Islam. The aggressive Islam of Ahmadinejad, or the mercy Islam of Mousavi."

Why is this significant? Take a look at the color Mr. Mousavi's supporters have chosen for their movement: Green is the color of Islam, meaning the demonstrators are taking on the regime on its own terms. Part of that challenge is to Iran's republican pretensions, mocked by voter turnout that the regime itself admits exceeded 100% in some 50 districts.


Global View columnist Bret Stephens describes the path to democracy.
Those pretensions were mostly a farce to begin with, given the nature of a system rigged to produce an "Islamic" result. But they also served as a thin edge of the wedge, creating the opening through which a theocratic state can be challenged on theological grounds. In so doing, they exposed what might be described as the twin paradoxes of the Islamic Revolution.

The first is that any revolution carried out in the name of God is also susceptible to being challenged in the name of God -- and God has many names. As with the Communist revolutions of the 20th century, which were ultimately answerable to the verdict of History in which they placed so much stock, the ideological foundation of the Islamic Revolution rests with the prevailing views of a Shiite clerisy. Thanks to people like Mr. Kadivar, those views now tilt increasingly against the regime: So far, he notes, two of Iran's four major seminaries have refused to endorse Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "victory."

The second paradox involves the nature of revolution itself. All political revolutions involve liberation, at least from whatever came before. But liberation is not a synonym for liberty and is often antithetical to it. In 1979, Iran was "liberated" from the Shah's oppressive rule, but it did not gain any measure of liberty. Thirty years on, what the demonstrators in Tehran's streets seek is to join the liberationist impulses of the regime's founding with the liberal aspirations of the revolution's children.

Whether they'll succeed will depend partly on their willingness to continue their protests -- possibly through crippling work stoppages -- but mostly on the willingness of the regime to enforce its will. Mr. Kadivar is convinced a large segment of the regime's all-important Revolutionary Guards side with the demonstrators. But they have their own perquisites to look after, and liberal revolutionaries are often crippled by their own innate distaste of violence.

Which makes it all the more essential that a regime that has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of its people not recover it through international recognition. Mr. Kadivar praises President Obama's "no meddling" stance so far, but insists the president not recognize Mr. Ahmadinejad's government once its second term officially begins in August. He shouldn't hold his breath. As for the green revolutionaries, they will soon find out what consolation, or strength, they draw from knowing God is on their side, with or without America.
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« Reply #22 on: June 30, 2009, 09:32:37 PM »

A Study in Defeat - Bruce Bawer calls out Western apologists for radical Islam.
City Journal ^ | 26 June 2009 | Jacob Laksin

Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom, by Bruce Bawer (Doubleday, 352 pp., $24.95)

With the release of his new book, Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom, the American writer and critic Bruce Bawer (some of whose work has appeared in City Journal) may have committed a crime in his adoptive Norway. In 2005, Norway’s politically correct parliament passed the so-called Discrimination Act, a law that, among other curbs on free speech, criminalized “utterances” that may be “insulting” to those of certain religious beliefs. Since Surrender is a searing indictment of Western opinion makers, especially in the media, for capitulating to the rise of radical Islam in Europe, and since Islamic extremists are bound to take issue with the author’s appeal for a sterner defense of Western freedoms, it’s a real possibility that Bawer could be prosecuted for what he has written.

That it has come to this in politically progressive Norway makes Surrender urgent reading. It also serves to bolster Bawer’s chief contention: that many in Europe, and to a lesser extent in the United States, are prepared to roll back essential civil liberties in order to pacify (or so they hope) Muslim radicals. Bawer embarks on a broad offensive, counting leading political, religious, and academic figures among the defeatists. Mainly, though, he directs his rhetorical fire at the press. In their eagerness to forfeit the free-speech rights on which they depend—whether through self-censorship or through craven reporting that casts avowed Islamists as “moderates”—journalists may present the most agonizing illustration of Bawer’s theme that, for too many in the West, surrender is indeed an option.

In Bawer’s telling, the white flag first waved in 1989. That year, Salman Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses, earned him a fatwa from Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini. In his decree, Khomeini called on Muslims across the world to hunt down and kill Rushdie and anyone involved in the book’s publication “so that no one will dare to insult Islamic sanctities again.” The fatwa forced Rushdie into hiding and led to the murder of his Japanese translator. But while many writers rallied to Rushdie’s defense, some perversely blamed the novelist for provoking his own death sentence. Oxford historian Hugh Trevor-Roper sneered that he “would not shed a tear if some British Muslims, deploring Mr. Rushdie’s manners, were to waylay him in a dark street and seek to improve them.” At the time, he writes, Bawer dismissed the Trevor-Roper view as an anomaly. Surely, he reasoned, most civilized people would defend free speech against its Islamist despisers. He was wrong.

Fast-forward to November 2004. Dutch filmmaker and provocateur Theo Van Gogh has just been savagely murdered on an Amsterdam street by Islamist Mohammed Bouyeri. The Dutch-born son of Moroccan immigrants, Bouyeri killed Van Gogh for the offense of making Submission, a documentary-style film highlighting the mistreatment of women in Islamic societies. If Bouyeri had hoped to silence criticism of Islam, he succeeded: the response to this deadly act of censorship was more censorship. In the most depressingly ironic instance, shortly after Van Gogh’s death, Submission was withdrawn from a festival of censored films by its producer, Gijs van de Westelaken, who feared that it would incite Muslim violence. “Does this mean I’m yielding to terror?” asked Westelaken. He candidly answered his own question: “Yes.”

Similar scenes have played out across Europe. In January 2006, Vebjørn Selbekk, the editor of the small-circulation Christian journal Magazinet, became a public enemy in Norway when he reprinted the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed that had triggered an uproar in the Muslim world when they first appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in the fall of 2005. Selbekk did so in protest against what he saw as a culture of self-censorship among Western newspapers, most of which refused to publish the offending caricatures. For a time, he stood by his decision, even as everyone from his fellow editors to Norway’s foreign minister pressed him to apologize. Ultimately, Selbekk, too, gave in, lamenting that he had not understood “how wounding” his decision had been for Muslims.

Bawer also condemns the Western press for downplaying the abundant evidence of extremism in Muslim communities. Of the many examples he provides—Surrender is meticulously sourced, and Bawer includes a comprehensive list of notes and quotations—the most outrageous may be a May 2007 Pew Research Center poll on Muslim attitudes. One of the poll’s more widely publicized findings was that 80 percent of young American Muslims opposed suicide bombings, a statistic presented as proof that, as a Washington Post headline trumpeted, Muslims are “opposed to extremism.” Few in the establishment press deigned to notice the disconcerting fact that a double-digit percentage of Muslims in the U.S. supported suicide terrorism. It was a spectacular case of what journalists call burying the lead.

Bawer finds many such cases in the course of his thorough—and thoroughly disheartening—account. In Amsterdam, a series of violent attacks on gays—often in broad daylight—has destroyed the city’s reputation as one of the most tolerant in Europe. Muslim immigrants from Morocco have committed most of the attacks, but this fact is apparently too controversial to mention, leaving the press to grasp for any explanation save the obvious one. The German magazine Der Spiegel demonstrated perfectly the absurd lengths to which the press will go to evade inconvenient facts. In 2007, the magazine’s website ran a story on Amsterdam’s anti-gay violence that found any number of ways to account for the attacks—perhaps society had stigmatized the perpetrators, or they were “struggling with their own sexual identity.” That the violence could have something to do with the attackers’ Islam-inspired hostility to homosexuality never came up.

Evasiveness of this sort often coexists with another media sin: the tendency to define Muslim moderation down. Take the high-profile case of globetrotting celebrity Islamist Tariq Ramadan. Time and again, Ramadan has belied his media-made reputation as a “moderate.” For instance, he has refused to condemn outright the Islamic practice of stoning women for adultery, advocating only a “moratorium,” while at the same time defending the “right” (often forced) of Muslim women to wear the veil. But to Stéphanie Giry, an editor at Foreign Affairs, Ramadan is merely encouraging “modesty among Muslim women.” The writer Ian Buruma has been equally generous. In a New York Times Magazine profile of Ramadan, he noted approvingly that “unlike some Islamic activists, Ramadan has not expressed any hostility to Jews in general.” If this is now the standard of moderation, then Bawer is surely right to scoff that the term “moderate Muslim” has come to denote “someone who might not stone an adulteress to death himself, but who would defend to the death another Muslim’s right to do so.”

It has become unacceptable to point all of this out. If there is one thing the media like less than challenging Islamic radicals in print or pixels, it’s being called out on their cowardice. Thus Bawer decries the oft-heard admonition to marginalize extremists “on both sides,” a refrain that more often than not draws a moral equivalence between Islamic terrorists and extremists and those who speak out against them. Bawer may not be entirely disinterested here: already, the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet has denounced Surrender for perpetuating “foaming-at-the-mouth racist fantasies,” notwithstanding the reviewer’s notable failure to find evidence of either racism or fantasy in the book. But the fact that Bawer may have a score to settle with some of his more unscrupulous detractors hardly justifies their attempts to equate jihadism’s critics with its practitioners.

Surrender at times treads closely on the heels of Bawer’s 2006 book, While Europe Slept. The sections on Theo Van Gogh and the assassinated Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn, especially, read like summaries of his earlier work. On the other hand, given the prominent role that both men have played in the debate over extremist Islam, some repetition is inevitable, and perhaps necessary. Moreover, because Bawer pulls no punches—he spiritedly dismisses one writer for composing a “breathtakingly mendacious tissue of calumnies”—his book is a bracing and lively read.

And even his critics cannot accuse Bawer of exaggeration. If you think the book’s title overstates his case, listen to Columbia University’s Mark Lilla, who instructed his readers in 2007 “to recognize that coping [with Islam] is the order of the day, not defending high principle, and . . . our expectations should remain low. So long as a sizeable population believes in the truth of a comprehensive political theology, its full political reconciliation with modern liberal democracy cannot be expected.” Doubtless some see this as an admirable expression of pragmatism. Bawer rightly recognizes it, instead, as a declaration of defeat—and he, for one, is not about to give up the fight.

Jacob Laksin is a senior editor at Front Page Magazine. He is coauthor, with David Horowitz, of One-Party Classroom: How Radical Professors at America’s Top Colleges Indoctrinate Students and Undermine Our Democracy.

http://www.city-journal.org/2009/bc0626jl.html
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rachelg
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« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2009, 08:41:49 PM »

Fareed Zakaria is by no means perfect but I really like this article  as an explanation of why just being a democratic does not necessarily mean good.
http://www.fareedzakaria.com/ARTICLES/other/democracy.html

November, 1997
Foreign Affairs
The Rise of Illiberal Democracy
By Fareed Zakaria

THE NEXT WAVE

THE AMERICAN diplomat Richard Holbrooke pondered a problem on the eve of the September 1996 elections in Bosnia, which were meant to restore civic life to that ravaged country. "Suppose the election was declared free and fair," he said, and those elected are "racists, fascists, separatists, who are publicly opposed to [peace and reintegration]. That is the dilemma." Indeed it is, not just in the former Yugoslavia, but increasingly around the world. Democratically elected regimes, often ones that have been reelected or reaffirmed through referenda, are routinely ignoring constitutional limits on their power and depriving their citizens of basic rights and freedoms. From Peru to the Palestinian Authority, from Sierra Leone to Slovakia, from Pakistan to the Philippines, we see the rise of a disturbing phenomenon in international life -- illiberal democracy.

It has been difficult to recognize this problem because for almost a century in the West, democracy has meant liberal democracy -- a political system marked not only by free and fair elections, but also by the rule of law, a separation of powers, and the protection of basic liberties of speech, assembly, religion, and property. In fact, this latter bundle of freedoms -- what might be termed constitutional liberalism -- is theoretically different and historically distinct from democracy. As the political scientist Philippe Schmitter has pointed out, "Liberalism, either as a conception of political liberty, or as a doctrine about economic policy, may have coincided with the rise of democracy. But it has never been immutably or unambiguously linked to its practice." Today the two strands of liberal democracy, interwoven in the Western political fabric, are coming apart in the rest of the world. Democracy is flourishing; constitutional liberalism is not.

Today, 118 of the world's 193 countries are democratic, encompassing a majority of its people (54.8 percent, to be exact), a vast increase from even a decade ago. In this season of victory, one might have expected Western statesmen and intellectuals to go one further than E. M. Forster and give a rousing three cheers for democracy. Instead there is a growing unease at the rapid spread of multiparty elections across south-central Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, perhaps because of what happens after the elections. Popular leaders like Russia's Boris Yeltsin and Argentina's Carlos Menem bypass their parliaments and rule by presidential decree, eroding basic constitutional
practices. The Iranian parliament -- elected more freely than most in the Middle East -- imposes harsh restrictions on speech, assembly, and even dress, diminishing that country's already meager supply of liberty. Ethiopia's elected government turns its security forces on journalists and political opponents, doing permanent damage to human rights (as well as human beings).

Naturally there is a spectrum of illiberal democracy, ranging from modest offenders like Argentina to near-tyrannies like Kazakstan and Belarus, with countries like Romania and Bangladesh in between. Along much of the spectrum, elections are rarely as free and fair as in the West today, but they do reflect the reality of popular participation in politics and support for those elected. And the examples are not isolated or atypical. Freedom House's 1996-97 survey, Freedom in the World, has separate rankings for political liberties and civil liberties, which correspond roughly with democracy and constitutional liberalism, respectively. Of the countries that lie between confirmed dictatorship and consolidated democracy, 50 percent do better on political liberties than on civil ones. In other words, half of the "democratizing" countries in the world today are illiberal democracies.

Illiberal democracy is a growth industry. Seven years ago only 22 percent of democratizing countries could have been so categorized; five years ago that figure had risen to 35 percent. n2 And to date few illiberal democracies have matured into liberal democracies; if anything, they are moving toward heightened illiberalism. Far from being a temporary or transitional stage, it appears that many countries are settling into a form of government that mixes a substantial degree of democracy with a substantial degree of illiberalism. Just as nations across the world have become comfortable with many variations of capitalism, they could well adopt and sustain varied forms of democracy. Western liberal democracy might prove to be not the final destination on the democratic road, but just one of many possible exits.

DEMOCRACY AND LIBERTY

FROM THE TIME of Herodotus democracy has meant, first and foremost, the rule of the people. This view of democracy as a process of selecting governments, articulated by scholars ranging from Alexis de Tocqueville to Joseph Schumpeter to Robert Dahl, is now widely used by social scientists. In The Third Wave, Samuel P. Huntington explains why:

Elections, open, free and fair, are the essence of democracy, the inescapable sine qua non. Governments produced by elections may be inefficient, corrupt, shortsighted, irresponsible, dominated by special interests, and incapable of adopting policies demanded by the public good. These qualities make such governments undesirable but they do not make them undemocratic. Democracy is one public virtue, not the only one, and the relation of democracy to other public virtues and vices can only be understood if democracy is clearly distinguished from the other characteristics of political systems.

This definition also accords with the commonsense view of the term. If a country holds competitive, multiparty elections, we call it democratic. When public participation in politics is increased, for example through the enfranchisement of women, it is seen as more democratic. Of course elections must be open and fair, and this requires some protections for freedom of speech and assembly. But to go beyond this minimalist definition and label a country democratic only if it guarantees a comprehensive catalog of social, political, economic, and religious rights turns the word democracy into a badge of honor rather than a descriptive category. After all, Sweden has an economic system that many argue curtails individual property rights, France until recently had a state monopoly on television, and England has an established religion. But they are all clearly and identifiably democracies. To have democracy mean, subjectively, "a good government" renders it analytically useless.

Constitutional liberalism, on the other hand, is not about the procedures for selecting government, but rather government's goals. It refers to the tradition, deep in Western history, that seeks to protect an individual's autonomy and dignity against coercion, whatever the source -- state, church, or society. The term marries two closely connected ideas. It is liberal because it draws on the philosophical strain, beginning with the Greeks, that emphasizes individual liberty. It is constitutional because it rests on the tradition, beginning with the Romans, of the rule of law. Constitutional liberalism developed in Western Europe and the United States as a defense of the individual's right to life and property, and freedom of religion and speech. To secure these rights, it emphasized checks on the power of each branch of government, equality under the law, impartial courts and tribunals, and separation of church and state. Its canonical figures include the poet John Milton, the jurist William Blackstone, statesmen such as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Adam Smith, Baron de Montesquieu, John Stuart Mill, and Isaiah Berlin. In almost all of its variants, constitutional liberalism argues that human beings have certain natural (or "inalienable") rights and that governments must accept a basic law, limiting its own powers, that secures them. Thus in 1215 at Runnymede, England's barons forced the king to abide by the settled and customary law of the land. In the American colonies these laws were made explicit, and in 1638 the town of Hartford adopted the first written constitution in modern history. In the 1970s, Western nations codified standards of behavior for regimes across the globe. The Magna Carta, the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, the American Constitution, and the Helsinki Final Act are all expressions of constitutional liberalism.


THE ROAD TO LIBERAL DEMOCRACY

SINCE 1945 Western governments have, for the most part, embodied both democracy and constitutional liberalism. Thus it is difficult to imagine the two apart, in the form of either illiberal democracy or liberal autocracy. In fact both have existed in the past and persist in the present. Until the twentieth century, most countries in Western Europe were liberal autocracies or, at best, semi-democracies. The franchise was tightly restricted, and elected legislatures had little power. In 1830 Great Britain, in some ways the most democratic European nation, allowed barely 2 percent of its population to vote for one house of Parliament; that figure rose to 7 percent after 1867 and reached around 40 percent in the 1880s. Only in the late 1940s did most Western countries become full-fledged democracies, with universal adult suffrage. But one hundred years earlier, by the late 1840s, most of them had adopted important aspects of constitutional liberalism -- the rule of law, private property rights, and increasingly, separated powers and free speech and assembly. For much of modern history, what characterized governments in Europe and North America, and differentiated them from those around the world, was not democracy but constitutional liberalism. The "Western model" is best symbolized not by the mass plebiscite but the impartial judge.

The recent history of East Asia follows the Western itinerary. After brief flirtations with democracy after World War II, most East Asian regimes turned authoritarian. Over time they moved from autocracy to liberalizing autocracy, and, in some cases, toward liberalizing semi-democracy. Most of the regimes in East Asia remain only semi-democratic, with patriarchs or one-party systems that make their elections ratifications of power rather than genuine contests. But these regimes have accorded their citizens a widening sphere of economic, civil, religious, and limited political rights. As in the West, liberalization in East Asia has included economic liberalization, which is crucial in promoting both growth and liberal democracy. Historically, the factors most closely associated with fullfledged liberal democracies are capitalism, a bourgeoisie, and a high per capita GNP. Today's East Asian governments are a mix of democracy, liberalism, capitalism, oligarchy, and corruption -- much like Western governments circa 1900.

Constitutional liberalism has led to democracy, but democracy does not seem to bring constitutional liberalism. In contrast to the Western and East Asian paths, during the last two decades in Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia, dictatorships with little background in constitutional liberalism have given way to democracy. The results are not encouraging. In the western hemisphere, with elections having been held in every country except Cuba, a 1993 study by the scholar Larry Diamond determined that 10 of the 22 principal Latin American countries "have levels of human rights abuse that are incompatible with the consolidation of [liberal] democracy." In Africa, democratization has been extraordinarily rapid. Within six months in 1990 much of Francophone Africa lifted its ban on multiparty politics. Yet although elections have been held in most of the 45 sub-Saharan states since 1991 (18 in 1996 alone), there have been etbacks for freedom in many countries. One of Africa's most careful observers, Michael Chege, surveyed the wave of democratization and drew the lesson that the continent had "overemphasized multiparty elections . . . and correspondingly neglected the basic tenets of liberal governance." In Central Asia, elections, even when reasonably free, as in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakstan, have resulted in strong executives, weak legislatures and judiciaries, and few civil and economic liberties. In the Islamic world, from the Palestinian Authority to Iran to Pakistan, democratization has led to an increasing role for theocratic politics, eroding long-standing traditions of secularism and tolerance. In many parts of that world, such as Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, and some of the Gulf States, were elections to be held tomorrow, the resulting regimes would almost certainly be more illiberal than the ones now in place.

Many of the countries of Central Europe, on the other hand, have moved successfully from communism to liberal democracy, having gone through the same phase of liberalization without democracy as other European countries did during the nineteenth century. Indeed, the Austro-Hungarian empire, to which most belonged, was a classic liberal autocracy. Even outside Europe, the political scientist Myron Weiner detected a striking connection between a constitutional past and a liberal democratic present. He pointed out that, as of 1983, "every single country in the Third World that emerged from colonial rule since the Second World War with a population of at least one million (and almost all the smaller colonies as well) with a continuous democratic experience is a former British colony." British rule meant not democracy -- colonialism is by definition undemocratic -- but constitutional liberalism. Britain's legacy of law and administration has proved more beneficial than France's policy of enfranchising some of its colonial populations.

While liberal autocracies may have existed in the past, can one imagine them today? Until recently, a small but powerful example flourished off the Asian mainland -- Hong Kong. For 156 years, until July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was ruled by the British Crown through an appointed governor general. Until 1991 it had never held a meaningful election, but its government epitomized constitutional liberalism, protecting its citizens' basic rights and administering a fair court system and bureaucracy. A September 8, 1997, editorial on the island's future in The Washington Post was titled ominously, "Undoing Hong Kong's Democracy." Actually, Hong Kong has precious little democracy to undo; what it has is a framework of rights and laws. Small islands may not hold much practical significance in today's world, but they do help one weigh the relative value of democracy and constitutional liberalism. Consider, for example, the question of where you would rather live, Haiti, an illiberal democracy, or Antigua, a liberal semi-democracy. Your choice would probably relate not to the weather, which is pleasant in both, but to the political climate, which is not.

ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY

JOHN STUART MILL opened his classic On Liberty by noting that as countries became democratic, people tended to believe that "too much importance had been attached to the limitation of power itself. That . . . was a response against rulers whose interests were opposed to those of the people." Once the people were themselves in charge, caution was unnecessary. "The nation did not need to be protected against its own will." As if confirming Mill's fears, consider the words of Alexandr Lukashenko after being elected president of Belarus with an overwhelming majority in a free election in 1994, when asked about limiting his powers: "There will be no dictatorship. I am of the people, and I am going to be for the people."

The tension between constitutional liberalism and democracy centers on the scope of governmental authority. Constitutional liberalism is about the limitation of power, democracy about its accumulation and use. For this reason, many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century liberals saw in democracy a force that could undermine liberty. James Madison explained in The Federalist that "the danger of oppression" in a democracy came from "the majority of the community." Tocqueville warned of the "tyranny of the majority," writing, "The very essence of democratic government consists in the absolute sovereignty of the majority."

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rachelg
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« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2009, 08:44:30 PM »

The tendency for a democratic government to believe it has absolute sovereignty (that is, power) can result in the centralization of authority, often by extraconstitutional means and with grim results. Over the last decade, elected governments claiming to represent the people have steadily encroached on the powers and rights of other elements in society, a usurpation that is both horizontal (from other branches of the national government) and vertical (from regional and local authorities as well as private businesses and other nongovernmental groups). Lukashenko and Peru's Alberto Fujimori are only the worst examples of this practice. (While Fujimori's actions -- disbanding the legislature and suspending the constitution, among others -- make it difficult to call his regime democratic, it is worth noting that he won two elections and was extremely popular until recently.) Even a bona fide reformer like Carlos Menem has passed close to 300 presidential decrees in his eight years in office,
about three times as many as all previous Argentinean presidents put together, going back to 1853. Kyrgyzstan's Askar Akayev, elected with 60 percent of the vote, proposed enhancing his powers in a referendum that passed easily in 1996. His new powers include appointing all top officials except the prime minister, although he can dissolve parliament if it turns down three of his nominees for
the latter post.

Horizontal usurpation, usually by presidents, is more obvious, but vertical usurpation is more common. Over the last three decades, the Indian government has routinely disbanded state legislatures on flimsy grounds, placing regions under New Delhi's direct rule. In a less dramatic but typical move, the elected government of the Central African Republic recently ended the longstanding independence of its university system, making it part of the central state
apparatus.

Usurpation is particularly widespread in Latin America and the states of the former Soviet Union, perhaps because both regions mostly have presidencies. These systems tend to produce strong leaders who believe that they speak for the people -- even when they have been elected by no more than a plurality. (As Juan Linz points out, Salvador Allende was elected to the Chilean presidency in 1970 with only 36 percent of the vote. In similar circumstances, a prime minister would have had to share power in a coalition government.) Presidents appoint cabinets of cronies, rather than senior party figures, maintaining few internal checks on their power. And when their views conflict with those of the legislature, or even the courts, presidents tend to "go to the nation," bypassing the dreary tasks of bargaining and coalition-building. While scholars debate the merits of presidential versus parliamentary forms of government, usurpation can occur under either, absent well-developed alternate centers of power such as strong legislatures, courts, political parties, regional governments, and independent universities and media. Latin America actually combines presidential systems with proportional representation, producing populist leaders and multiple parties -- an unstable combination.

Many Western governments and scholars have encouraged the creation of strong and centralized states in the Third World. Leaders in these countries have argued that they need the authority to break down feudalism, split entrenched coalitions, override vested interests, and bring order to chaotic societies. But this confuses the need for a legitimate government with that for a powerful one. Governments that are seen as legitimate can usually maintain order and pursue tough policies, albeit slowly, by building coalitions. After all, few claim that governments in developing countries should not have adequate police powers; the trouble comes from all the other political, social, and economic powers that they accumulate. In crises like civil wars, constitutional governments might not be able to rule effectively, but the alternative -- states with vast security apparatuses that suspend constitutional rights -- has usually produced neither order nor good government. More often, such states have become predatory, maintaining some order but also arresting opponents, muzzling dissent, nationalizing industries, and confiscating property. While anarchy has its dangers, the greatest threats to human liberty and happiness in this century have been caused not by disorder but by brutally strong, centralized states, like Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Maoist China. The Third World is littered with the bloody handiwork of strong states.

Historically, unchecked centralization has been the enemy of liberal democracy. As political participation increased in Europe over the nineteenth century, it was accommodated smoothly in countries such as England and Sweden, where medieval assemblies, local governments, and regional councils had remained strong. Countries like France and Prussia, on the other hand, where the monarchy had effectively centralized power (both horizontally and vertically), often ended up illiberal and undemocratic. It is not a coincidence that in twentieth-century Spain, the beachhead of liberalism lay in Catalonia, for centuries a doggedly independent and autonomous region. In America, the presence of a rich variety of institutions -- state, local, and private -- made it much easier to accommodate the rapid and large extensions in suffrage that took place in the early nineteenth century. Arthur Schlesinger Sr. has documented how, during America's first 50 years, virtually every state, interest group and faction tried to weaken and even break up the federal government. More recently, India's semi-liberal democracy has survived because of, not despite, its strong regions and varied languages, cultures, and even castes. The point is logical, even tautological: pluralism in the past helps ensure political pluralism in the present.

Fifty years ago, politicians in the developing world wanted extraordinary powers to implement then-fashionable economic doctrines, like nationalization of industries. Today their successors want similar powers to privatize those very industries. Menem's justification for his methods is that they are desperately needed to enact tough economic reforms. Similar arguments are made by Abdala Bucarem of Ecuador and by Fujimori. Lending institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, have been sympathetic to these pleas, and the bond market has been positively exuberant. But except in emergencies like war, illiberal means are in the long run incompatible with liberal ends. Constitutional government is in fact the key to a successful economic reform policy. The experience of East Asia and Central Europe suggests that when regimes -- whether authoritarian, as in East Asia, or liberal democratic, as in Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic -- protect individual rights, including those of property and contract, and create a framework of law and administration, capitalism and growth will follow. In a recent speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, explaining what it takes for capitalism to flourish, Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan concluded that, "The guiding mechanism of a free market economy . . . is a bill of rights, enforced by an impartial judiciary"

Finally, and perhaps more important, power accumulated to do good can be used subsequently to do ill. When Fujimori disbanded parliament, his approval ratings shot up to their highest ever. But recent opinion polls suggest that most of those who once approved of his actions now wish he were more constrained. In 1993 Boris Yeltsin famously (and literally) attacked the Russian parliament, prompted by parliament's own unconstitutional acts. He then suspended the constitutional court, dismantled the system of local governments, and fired several provincial governors. From the war in Chechnya to his economic programs, Yeltsin has displayed a routine lack of concern for constitutional procedures and limits. He may well be a liberal democrat at heart, but Yeltsin's actions have created a Russian super-presidency. We can only hope his successor will not abuse it.

For centuries Western intellectuals have had a tendency to view constitutional liberalism as a quaint exercise in rule-making, mere formalism that should take a back seat to battling larger evils in society. The most eloquent counterpoint to this view remains an exchange in Robert Bolt's play A Man For All Seasons. The fiery young William Roper, who yearns to battle evil, is exasperated by Sir Thomas More's devotion to the law. More gently defends himself.

MORE: What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
ROPER: I'd cut every law in England to do that!
MORE: And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned on you -- where would you hide Roper, the laws all being flat?

ETHNIC CONFLICT AND WAR

ON DECEMBER 8, 1996, Jack Lang made a dramatic dash to Belgrade. The French celebrity politician, formerly minister of culture, had been inspired by the student demonstrations involving tens of thousands against Slobodan Milosevic, a man Lang and many Western intellectuals held responsible for the war in the Balkans. Lang wanted to lend his moral support to the Yugoslav opposition. The leaders of the movement received him in their offices -- the philosophy department -- only to boot him out, declare him "an enemy of the Serbs," and order him to leave the country. It turned out that the students opposed Milosevic not for starting the war, but for failing to win it.

Lang's embarrassment highlights two common, and often mistaken, assumptions -- that the forces of democracy are the forces of ethnic harmony and of peace. Neither is necessarily true. Mature liberal democracies can usually accommodate ethnic divisions without violence or terror and live in peace with other liberal democracies. But without a background in constitutional liberalism, the introduction of democracy in divided societies has actually fomented nationalism, ethnic conflict, and even war. The spate of elections held immediately after the collapse of communism were won in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia by nationalist separatists and resulted in the breakup of those
countries. This was not in and of itself bad, since those countries had been bound together by force. But the rapid secessions, without guarantees, institutions, or political power for the many minorities living within the new countries, have caused spirals of rebellion, repression, and, in places like Bosnia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, war.

Elections require that politicians compete for peoples' votes. In societies without strong traditions of multiethnic groups or assimilation, it is easiest to organize support along racial, ethnic, or religious lines. Once an ethnic group is in power, it tends to exclude other ethnic groups. Compromise seems impossible; one can bargain on material issues like housing, hospitals, and handouts, but how does one split the difference on a national religion? Political competition that is so divisive can rapidly degenerate into violence. Opposition movements, armed rebellions, and coups in Africa have often been directed against ethnically based regimes, many of which came to power through elections. Surveying the breakdown of African and Asian democracies in the 1960s, two scholars concluded that democracy "is simply not viable in an environment of intense ethnic preferences." Recent studies, particularly of Africa and Central Asia, have confirmed this pessimism. A distinguished expert on ethnic conflict, Donald Horowitz, concluded, "In the face of this rather dismal account . . . of the concrete failures of democracy in divided societies . . . one is tempted to throw up one's hands. What is the point of holding elections if all they do in the end is to substitute a Bemba-dominated regime for a Nyanja regime in Zambia, the two equally narrow, or a southern regime for a northern one in Benin, neither incorporating the other half of the state?"

Over the past decade, one of the most spirited debates among scholars of international relations concerns the "democratic peace" -- the assertion that no two modern democracies have gone to war with each other. The debate raises interesting substantive questions (does the American Civil War count? do nuclear weapons better explain the peace?) and even the statistical findings have raised interesting dissents. (As the scholar David Spiro points out, given the small number of both democracies and wars over the last two hundred years, sheer chance might explain the absence of war between democracies. No member of his family has ever won the lottery, yet few offer explanations for this impressive correlation.) But even if the statistics are correct, what explains them? Kant, the original proponent of the democratic peace, contended that in democracies, those who pay for wars -- that is, the public -- make the decisions, so they are understandably cautious. But that claim suggests that democracies are more pacific than other states. Actually they are more warlike, going to war more often and with greater intensity than most states. It is only with other democracies that the peace holds.

When divining the cause behind this correlation, one thing becomes clear: the democratic peace is actually the liberal peace. Writing in the eighteenth century, Kant believed that democracies were tyrannical, and he specifically excluded them from his conception of "republican" governments, which lived in a zone of peace. Republicanism, for Kant, meant a separation of powers, checks and balances, the rule of law, protection of individual rights, and some level of representation in government (though nothing close to universal suffrage). Kant's other explanations for the "perpetual peace" between republics are all closely linked to their constitutional and liberal character: a mutual respect for the rights of each other's citizens, a system of checks and balances assuring that no single leader can drag his country into war, and classical liberal economic policies -- most importantly, free trade -- which create an interdependence that makes war costly and cooperation useful. Michael Doyle, th leading scholar on the subject, confirms in his 1997 book Ways of War and Peace that without constitutional liberalism, democracy itself has no peace-inducing qualities:

Kant distrusted unfettered, democratic majoritarianism, and his argument offers no support for a claim that all participatory polities -- democracies -- should be peaceful, either in general or between fellow democracies. Many participatory polities have been non-liberal. For two thousand years before the modern age, popular rule was widely associated with aggressiveness (by Thucydides) or imperial success (by Machiavelli) . . . The decisive preference of [the] median voter might well include "ethnic cleansing" against other democratic polities.

The distinction between liberal and illiberal democracies sheds light on another striking statistical correlation. Political scientists Jack Snyder and Edward Mansfield contend, using an impressive data set, that over the last 200 years democratizing states went to war significantly more often than either stable autocracies or liberal democracies. In countries not grounded in constitutional liberalism, the rise of democracy often brings with it hyper-nationalism and war-mongering. When the political system is opened up, diverse groups with incompatible interests gain access to power and press their demands. Political and military leaders, who are often embattled remnants of the old authoritarian order, realize that to succeed that they must rally the masses behind a national cause. The result is invariably aggressive rhetoric and policies, which often drag countries into confrontation and war. Noteworthy examples range from Napoleon III's France, Wilhelmine Germany, and Taisho Japan to those in today's newspapers, like Armenia and Azerbaijan and Milosevic's Serbia. The democratic peace, it turns out, has little to do with democracy.
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rachelg
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« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2009, 08:45:53 PM »

THE AMERICAN PATH

AN AMERICAN SCHOLAR recently traveled to Kazakstan on a U.S. government-sponsored mission to help the new parliament draft its electoral laws. His counterpart, a senior member of the Kazak parliament, brushed aside the many options the American expert was outlining, saying emphatically, "We want our parliament to be just like your Congress." The American was horrified, recalling, "I tried to say something other than the three words that had immediately come screaming into my mind: 'No you don't!'" This view is not unusual. Americans in the democracy business tend to see their own system as an unwieldy contraption that no other country should put up with. In fact, the adoption of some aspects of the American constitutional framework could ameliorate many of the problems associated with illiberal democracy. The philosophy behind the U.S. Constitution, a fear of accumulated power, is as relevant today as it was in 1789. Kazakstan, as it happens, would be particularly well-served by a strong parliament -- like the American Congress -- to check the insatiable appetite of its president.

It is odd that the United States is so often the advocate of elections and plebiscitary democracy abroad. What is distinctive about the American system is not how democratic it is but rather how undemocratic it is, placing as it does multiple constraints on electoral majorities. Of its three branches of government, one -- arguably paramount -- is headed by nine unelected men and women with life tenure. Its Senate is the most unrepresentative upper house in the world, with the lone exception of the House of Lords, which is powerless. (Every state sends two senators to Washington regardless of its population -- California's 30 million people have as many votes in the Senate as Arizona's 3.7 million -- which means that senators representing about 16 percent of the country can block any proposed law.) Similarly, in legislatures all over the United States, what is striking is not the power of majorities but that of minorities. To further check national power, state and local governments are strong and fiercely battle every federal intrusion onto their turf. Private businesses and other nongovernmental groups, what Tocqueville called intermediate associations, make up another stratum within society.

The American system is based on an avowedly pessimistic conception of human nature, assuming that people cannot be trusted with power. "If men were angels," Madison famously wrote, "no government would be necessary." The other model for democratic governance in Western history is based on the French Revolution. The French model places its faith in the goodness of human beings. Once the people are the source of power, it should be unlimited so that they can create a just society. (The French revolution, as Lord Acton observed, is not about the limitation of sovereign power but the abrogation of all intermediate powers that get in its way.) Most non-Western countries have embraced the French model -- not least because political elites like the prospect of empowering the state, since that means empowering themselves -- and most have descended into bouts of chaos, tyranny, or both. This should have come as no surprise. After all, since its revolution France itself has run through two monarchies, two empires, one proto-fascist dictatorship, and five republics.

Of course cultures vary, and different societies will require different frameworks of government. This is not a plea for the wholesale adoption of the American way but rather for a more variegated conception of liberal democracy, one that emphasizes both parts of that phrase. Before new policies can be adopted, there lies an intellectual task of recovering the constitutional liberal tradition, central to the Western experience and to the development of good government throughout the world. Political progress in Western history has been the result of a growing recognition over the centuries that, as the Declaration of Independence puts it, human beings have "certain inalienable rights" and that "it is to secure these rights that governments are instituted." If a democracy does not preserve liberty and law, that it is a democracy is a small consolation.

LIBERALIZING FOREIGN POLICY

A PROPER appreciation of constitutional liberalism has a variety of implications for American foreign policy. First, it suggests a certain humility. While it is easy to impose elections on a country, it is more difficult to push constitutional liberalism on a society. The process of genuine liberalization and democratization is gradual and long-term, in which an election is only one step. Without appropriate preparation, it might even be a false step. Recognizing this, governments and nongovernmental organizations are increasingly promoting a wide array of measures designed to bolster constitutional liberalism in developing countries. The National Endowment for Democracy promotes free markets, independent labor movements, and political parties. The U.S. Agency for International Development funds independent judiciaries. In the end, however, elections trump everything. If a country holds elections, Washington and the world will tolerate a great deal from the resulting government, as they have with Yeltsin, Akayev, and Menem. In an age of images and symbols, elections are easy to capture on film. (How do you televise the rule of law?) But there is life after elections, especially for the people who live there.

Conversely, the absence of free and fair elections should be viewed as one flaw, not the definition of tyranny. Elections are an important virtue of governance, but they are not the only virtue. Governments should be judged by yardsticks related to constitutional liberalism as well. Economic, civil, and religious liberties are at the core of human autonomy and dignity. If a government with limited democracy steadily expands these freedoms, it should not be branded a dictatorship. Despite the limited political choice they offer, countries like Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand provide a better environment for the life, liberty, and happiness of their citizens than do either dictatorships like Iraq and Libya or illiberal democracies like Slovakia or Ghana. And the pressures of global capitalism can push the process of liberalization forward. Markets and morals can work together. Even China, which remains a deeply repressive regime, has given its citizens more autonomy and economic liberty than they have had in generations. Much more needs to change before China can even be called a liberalizing autocracy, but that should not mask the fact that much has changed.

Finally, we need to revive constitutionalism. One effect of the overemphasis on pure democracy is that little effort is given to creating imaginative constitutions for transitional countries. Constitutionalism, as it was understood by its greatest eighteenth century exponents, such as Montesquieu and Madison, is a complicated system of checks and balances designed to prevent the accumulation of power and the abuse of office. This is done not by simply writing up a list of rights but by constructing a system in which government will not violate those rights. Various groups must be included and empowered because, as Madison explained, "ambition must be made to counteract ambition." Constitutions were also meant to tame the passions of the public, creating not simply democratic but also deliberative government. Unfortunately, the rich variety of unelected bodies, indirect voting, federal arrangements, and checks and balances that characterized so many of the formal and informal constitutions of Europe are now regarded with suspicion. What could be called the Weimar syndrome -- named after interwar Germany's beautifully constructed constitution, which failed to avert fascism -- has made people regard constitutions as simply paperwork that cannot make much difference. (As if any political system in Germany would have easily weathered military defeat, social revolution, the Great Depression, and hyperinflation.) Procedures that inhibit direct democracy are seen as inauthentic, muzzling the voice of the people. Today around the world we see variations on the same majoritarian theme. But the trouble with these winner-take-all systems is that, in most democratizing countries, the winner really does take all.

DEMOCRACY'S DISCONTENTS

WE LIVE IN a democratic age. Through much of human history the danger to an ndividual's life, liberty and happiness came from the absolutism of monarchies, the dogma of churches, the terror of dictatorships, and the iron grip of totalitarianism. Dictators and a few straggling totalitarian regimes still persist, but increasingly they are anachronisms in a world of global markets, information, and media. There are no longer respectable alternatives to democracy; it is part of the fashionable attire of modernity. Thus the problems of governance in the 21st century will likely be problems within democracy. This makes them more difficult to handle, wrapped as they are in the mantle of legitimacy.

Illiberal democracies gain legitimacy, and thus strength, from the fact that they are reasonably democratic. Conversely, the greatest danger that illiberal democracy poses -- other than to its own people -- is that it will discredit liberal democracy itself, casting a shadow on democratic governance. This would not be unprecedented. Every wave of democracy has been followed by setbacks in which the system was seen as inadequate and new alternatives were sought by ambitious leaders and restless masses. The last such period of disenchantment, in Europe during the interwar years, was seized upon by demagogues, many of whom were initially popular and even elected. Today, in the face of a spreading virus of illiberalism, the most useful role that the international community, and most importantly the United States, can play is -- instead of searching for new lands to democratize and new places to hold elections -- to consolidate democracy where it has taken root and to encourage the gradual development of constitutional liberalism across the globe. Democracy without constitutional liberalism is not simply inadequate, but dangerous, bringing with it the erosion of liberty, the abuse of power, ethnic divisions, and even war. Eighty years ago, Woodrow Wilson took America into the twentieth century with a challenge, to make the world safe for democracy. As we approach the next century, our task is to make democracy safe for the world.

- Roger Kaplan, ed., Freedom Around the World, 1997, New York: Freedom House, 1997, pp. 21-22. The survey rates countries on two 7-point scales, for political rights and civil liberties (lower is better). I have considered all countries with a combined score of between 5 and 10 to be democratizing. The percentage figures are based on Freedom House's numbers, but in the case of individual countries I have not adhered strictly to its ratings. While the Survey is an extraordinary feat -- comprehensive and intelligent -- its methodology conflates certain constitutional rights with democratic procedures, which confuses matters. In addition, I use as examples (though not as part of the data set) countries like Iran, Kazakstan, and Belarus, which even in procedural terms are semi-democracies at best. But they are worth highlighting as interesting problem cases since most of their leaders were elected, reelected, and remain popular.

- Freedom in the World: The Annual Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties, 1992-1993, pp. 620-26; Freedom in the World, 1989-1990, pp. 312-19.

- The term "liberal" is used here in its older, European sense, now often called classical liberalism. In America today the word has come to mean something quite different, namely policies upholding the modern welfare state.

- Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia are examples of liberalizing autocracies, while South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand are liberal semi-democracies. Both groups, however, are more liberal than they are democratic, which is also true of the region's only liberal democracy, Japan; Papua New Guinea, and to a lesser extent the Philippines, are the only examples of illiberal democracy in East Asia.

-Larry Diamond, "Democracy in Latin America," in Tom Farer, ed., Beyond Sovereignty: Collectively Defending Democracy in a World of Sovereign States, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, p. 73.

- Myron Weiner, "Empirical Democratic Theory," in Myron Weiner and Ergun Ozbudun, eds., Competitive Elections in Developing Countries, Durham: Duke University Press, 1987, p. 20. Today there are functioning democracies in the Third World that are not former British colonies, but the majority of the former are the latter.

- Arthur Schlesinger, Sr., New Viewpoints in American History, New York:
Macmillan, 1922, pp. 220-40.

- Alvin Rabushka and Kenneth Shepsle, Politics in Plural Societies: A Theory of Democratic Instability, Columbus: Charles E. Merill, pp. 62-92; Donald Horowitz, "Democracy in Divided Societies," in Larry Diamond and Mark F. Plattner, eds., Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict and Democracy, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994, pp. 35-55.

- Bernard Lewis, "Why Turkey Is the Only Muslim Democracy," Middle East
Quarterly, March 1994, pp. 47-48.
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captainccs
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« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2009, 08:53:52 AM »

Fareed Zakaria is by no means perfect but I really like this article  as an explanation of why just being a democratic does not necessarily mean good.
http://www.fareedzakaria.com/ARTICLES/other/democracy.html

November, 1997
Foreign Affairs
The Rise of Illiberal Democracy
By Fareed Zakaria


I'm not sure why Rachel posted this particular piece to Articulating our cause/strategy against Islamic Fascism since Illiberal Democracy is a problem in many parts of the world including the USA.

From the article:

Quote
The tension between constitutional liberalism and democracy centers on the scope of governmental authority. Constitutional liberalism is about the limitation of power, democracy about its accumulation and use. For this reason, many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century liberals saw in democracy a force that could undermine liberty. James Madison explained in The Federalist that "the danger of oppression" in a democracy came from "the majority of the community." Tocqueville warned of the "tyranny of the majority," writing, "The very essence of democratic government consists in the absolute sovereignty of the majority."

I think it is quite clear that [Castro]/Chavez/Morales/Correa/Ortega/Zelaya are Illiberal Democrats. With the exception of the Castro brothers, they were elected and, with the exception of Zelaya who was stopped in time,  they promptly reorganized their respective Constitutions and Public Powers so they could rule as autocrats in the name of "Popular Power" which in practice turns out to be mob rule.

You might be surprised that I include the USA as a place where Illiberal Democracy is taking root. To prove my contention I'm going to cite two issues. The first is President Obama's support for Illiberal Democracy in Latin America. First he wants to be a friend of military coupster Hugo Chavez who can't get a Visa to visit the USA, then he wants to be friends with Raul Castro and finally he wants to reinstate Zelaya overruling the laws and sovereignty  of Honduras, as if Honduras were an American colony or something. Sadly, it is an American tradition to back SOBs as long as they are "our SOBs." But in this case Zelaya is not even a pro America SOB but quite the contrary. Just what might Obama be thinking?

The second issue is the so called "Cap and Spend" energy bill passed by the House  on June 26. This bill was voted on by party line, not by an understanding of the underlying issues. FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 477
AYESNOESNV
DEMOCRATIC211441
REPUBLICAN81682
TOTALS2192123

What's wrong with this bill? I'll let the opponents of the bill do the talking:





While these "Democrat Representatives" were duly elected, they have no compunction in taking away civil liberties from the very people who elected them, all in the name of a superior good, as if individual rights didn't have much value at all. The thinking of this elite is well explained in The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy by Thomas Sowell

Denny Schlesinger
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2009, 09:00:35 AM »

Rachel's post is an important one, but I too am confused by its presence here.  Where would it better belong?
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captainccs
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« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2009, 09:57:31 AM »

Rachel's post is an important one, but I too am confused by its presence here.  Where would it better belong?

Here and in many other places!  Wink
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rachelg
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« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2009, 10:20:31 AM »

I would be happy to move it if the post fits better in a different thread.   The reason I put in here was the  the  articulation our cause part of the the thread. I thought this article did a great job of describing  a true liberal democracy. It seemed bigger than just an American issue.   It describes  the characteristics of all good government  and the fact that just because a government is elected does not make them good or increase freedom for their citizens.   Hamas etc  shouldn't be legitimized just because they are elected.  Also if we want to spread democracy win hearts and mind we need to realize it is much more than just having elections.
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« Reply #30 on: July 11, 2009, 11:56:21 AM »

OK, I am persuaded smiley
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« Reply #31 on: July 11, 2009, 06:07:00 PM »

Makes sense to me.
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« Reply #32 on: July 26, 2009, 05:32:32 AM »

A tad sunny  cheesy with regard to Afpakia I think (see e.g. the "Michael Yon in Afg" thread and the Afg-Pak thread here) but some points worth consideration.

=========================================
The Losers Hang On Sign in to Recommend
 
After spending a week traveling the frontline of the “war on terrorism” — from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ronald Reagan in the seas off Iran, to northern Iraq, to Afghanistan and into northwest Pakistan — I can comfortably report the following: The bad guys are losing.

Yes, the dominos you see falling in the Muslim world today are the extremist Islamist groups and governments. They have failed to persuade people by either their arguments or their performances in power that their puritanical versions of Islam are the answer. Having lost the argument, though, the radicals still hang on thanks to gun barrels and oil barrels — and they can for a while.

Because, while the radicals have failed miserably, our allies — the pro-Americans, the Muslim modernists, the Arab moderates — have not really filled the void with reform and good government of their own. They are winning by default. More on that later.

For now, though, it is obvious that everywhere they have won or seized power, the Islamists — in Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Algeria, Lebanon or Gaza — have overplayed their hands, dragged their societies into useless wars or engaged in nihilistic violence that today is producing a broad backlash from mainstream Muslims.

Think of this: In the late-1970s, two leaders made historic trips — President Anwar Sadat flew from Egypt to Israel and Ayatollah Khomeini flew from Paris to Tehran. For the last 30 years, politics in the Middle East and the Muslim world has, in many ways, been a struggle between their competing visions.

Sadat argued that the future should bury the past and that Arabs and Muslims should build their future based on peace with Israel, integration with the West and embracing modernity. Khomeini argued that the past should bury the future and that Persians and Muslims should build their future on hostility to Israel, isolation from the West and subordinating modernity to a puritanical Islam.

In 2009, the struggle between those two trends tipped toward the Sadatists. The fact that Iran’s ruling theocrats had to steal their election to stay in power and forcibly suppress dissent by millions of Iranians — according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Iran has surpassed China as the world’s leading jailer of journalists, with 41 now behind bars — is the most visible sign of this. The Taliban’s burning down of secular schools that compete with its mosques, and its peddling of heroin to raise cash, are also not exactly signs of intellectual triumph.

The same day that President Obama spoke to the Muslim world from Cairo University, Osama bin Laden released a long statement on Islamic Web sites and on Al Jazeera. As the Egyptian Middle East expert Mamoun Fandy noted: “Obama beat Osama hands down. Ask anyone about the content of Obama’s speech and they will tell you. Ask them what Osama said and most people will say, ‘Did he give a speech?’ ”

In Iraq’s elections last January, nationalist and moderate Muslim parties defeated the sectarian, radical religious parties, while in Lebanon, a pro-Western coalition defeated one led by Hezbollah.

Here in Pakistan, the backlash against the Taliban has been building among the rising middle class. It started in March when a mobile-phone video of a teenage girl being held down and beaten outside her home by a Taliban commander in Pakistan’s Swat Valley spread virally across this country. In May, the Pakistani Army began an offensive against Taliban militants who had taken control of key towns in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), and appeared to be moving toward the capital, Islamabad.

I followed Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when he visited a vast, choking-hot and dust-covered refugee tent camp in Jalozai, where some 116,000 refugees have fled the NWFP, as the Pakistani Army moved into their hometowns to smash the Taliban in a popular operation.

“People are totally against them, but the Taliban don’t care,” a Pakistani teacher, Abdul Jalil, 41, told me while taking a break from teaching the Urdu alphabet to young boys in a sweltering tent. “They are very cruel. They chopped people’s heads off.”

To the extent that the radical Islamists have any energy today, it comes not from the power of their ideas or examples of good governance, but by stoking sectarian feuds. In Afghanistan, the Taliban play on Pashtun nationalist grievances, and in Iraq, the Sunni jihadists draw energy from killing Shiites.

The only way to really dry up their support, though, is for the Arab and Muslim modernists to actually implement better ideas by producing less corrupt and more consensual governance, with better schools, more economic opportunities and a vision of Islam that is perceived as authentic yet embracing of modernity. That is where “our” allies in Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have so consistently failed. Until that happens, the Islamist radicals will be bankrupt, but not out of business.
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« Reply #33 on: October 04, 2009, 08:21:04 AM »

Still Not Tired Recommend
THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Pravda on the Hudson
Published: October 3, 2009

He didn’t want to wear earplugs. Apparently, he wanted to enjoy the blast.

That is what The Dallas Morning News reported about Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, the 19-year-old Jordanian accused of trying to blow up a downtown Dallas skyscraper. He was caught by an F.B.I. sting operation that culminated in his arrest nearly two weeks ago — after Smadi parked a 2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac, supplied by the F.B.I., in the garage of a Dallas office tower.

“Inside the S.U.V. was a fake bomb, designed to appear similar to one used by Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing,” The News wrote. “Authorities say Smadi thought he could detonate it with a cellphone. After parking the vehicle, he got into another vehicle with one of the agents, and they drove several blocks away. An agent offered Smadi earplugs, but he declined, ‘indicating that he wanted to hear the blast,’ authorities said. He then dialed the phone, thinking it would trigger the bomb. ... Instead, the agents took him into custody.”

If that doesn’t send a little shiver down your spine, how about this one? BBC.com reported that “it has emerged that an Al Qaeda bomber who died last month while trying to blow up a Saudi prince in Jeddah had hidden the explosives inside his body.” He reportedly inserted the bomb and detonator in his rectum to elude metal detectors. My God.

Or how about this? Two weeks ago in Denver, the F.B.I. arrested Najibullah Zazi, a 24-year-old Afghan immigrant, and indicted him on charges of planning to set off a bomb made of the same home-brewed explosives used in the 2005 London transit bombings. He allegedly learned how to do so on a training visit to Pakistan. The Times reported that Zazi “had bought some bomb ingredients in beauty supply stores, the authorities said, after viewing instructions on his laptop on how to build such a bomb. When an employee of the Beauty Supply Warehouse asked about the volume of materials he was buying, he remembered Mr. Zazi answering, ‘I have a lot of girlfriends.’ ”

These incidents are worth reflecting on. They tell us some important things. First, we may be tired of this “war on terrorism,” but the bad guys are not. They are getting even more “creative.”

Second, in this war on terrorism, there is no “good war” or “bad war.” There is one war with many fronts, including Europe and our own backyard, requiring many different tactics. It is a war within Islam, between an often too-silent Muslim mainstream and a violent, motivated, often nihilistic jihadist minority. Theirs is a war over how and whether Islam should embrace modernity. It is a war fueled by humiliation — humiliation particularly among young Muslim males who sense that their faith community has fallen behind others, in terms of both economic opportunity and military clout. This humiliation has spawned various jihadists cults, including Al Qaeda, which believe they have the God-given right to kill infidels, their own secular leaders and less pious Muslims to purify Islam and Islamic lands and thereby restore Muslim grandeur.

Third, the newest and maybe most active front in this war is not Afghanistan, but the “virtual Afghanistan” — the loose network of thousands of jihadist Web sites, mosques and prayer groups that recruit, inspire and train young Muslims to kill without any formal orders from Al Qaeda. The young man in Dallas came to F.B.I. attention after espousing war on the U.S. on jihadist Web sites.

Fourth, in the short run, winning this war requires effective police/intelligence action, to kill or capture the jihadists. I call that “the war on terrorists.” In the long run, though, winning requires partnering with Arab and Muslim societies to help them build thriving countries, integrated with the world economy, where young people don’t grow up in a soil poisoned by religious extremists and choked by petro-dictators so they can never realize their aspirations. I call this “the war on terrorism.” It takes a long time.

Our operation in Afghanistan after 9/11 was, for me, only about “the war on terrorists.” It was about getting bin Laden. Iraq was “the war on terrorism” — trying to build a decent, pluralistic, consensual government in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world. Despite all we’ve paid, the outcome in Iraq remains uncertain. But it was at least encouraging to see last week’s decision by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki to run in the next election with a nonsectarian, multireligious coalition — a rare thing in the Arab world.

So, what President Obama is actually considering in Afghanistan is shifting from a “war on terrorists” there to a “war on terrorism,” including nation-building. I still have serious doubts that we have a real Afghan government partner for that. But if Mr. Obama decides to send more troops, the most important thing is not the number. It is his commitment to see it through. If he seems ambivalent, no one there will stand with us and we’ll have no chance. If he seems committed, maybe — maybe — we’ll find enough allies. Remember, the bad guys are totally committed — and they are not tired.

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« Reply #34 on: November 09, 2009, 08:28:20 PM »

By FOUAD AJAMI

For all its menace and fanfare, Eastern European communism, one of its countless chroniclers observed, left the theater of history on tiptoe. The simple, surprising end came 20 years ago, Nov. 9, 1989, when an apparatchik of the German Democratic Republic read out a note announcing that the border that had cut through Germany would be opened for "private trips abroad." The Berlin Wall had fallen.

A mere two years earlier, in November 1987, there was a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, and even Mikhail Gorbachev—the fourth Soviet leader in three years—gave the appearance of normalcy. But it was too late for such pretense. The subjugation of that "other Europe" had come to an end.

"Gorbachev's role, though honorable, has been exaggerated," British historian Norman Davies writes in his monumental book, "Europe: A History." "He was not the architect of East Europe's freedom: he was the lock-keeper who, seeing the dam about to burst, decided to open the floodgates and to let the water flow. The dam burst in any case; but it did so without the threat of a violent catastrophe."

There were the Hungarians, in October of 1989, on the 33rd anniversary of the crushing of their national rebellion, abolishing the entire ruling Communist apparatus. There were the people in Prague again, a mere two decades after the snuffing out of their freedom, launching their Velvet Revolution. Poland wrote its own distinctive history. Its national church never faltered—a gifted primate of that church, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, rose to the papacy and helped steer his nation's history freedom's way. Its shipyard workers led a movement that made a seamless transition from workers' rights to the cause of national freedom.

It wasn't always pretty, the emancipation of these captive nations. Communism always carried within its doctrine the stern warning that national chauvinisms would spring to the fore were its "internationalism" to give way. Yugoslavia bore out that message. What rose from its graveyard were pitiless nationalisms whose crimes are indelibly etched in our memories. Tito had indeed held together an impossible country. Nor were matters pretty in Romania, no velvet revolution in the twisted, dark tyranny of the Ceaucescus. The march to ballots and free markets was not always an attractive, or a straightforward, tale.

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An angry, uncompromising Russian sage, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the oft-told story tells us, came to Washington in the summer of 1975 but was denied the opportunity to meet with President Gerald Ford. The story's significance shouldn't be overdone. Two generations of Americans had done their work "containing" the spread and the appeal of Communism.

But Soviet power seemed at its zenith in the 1970s. The cause of freedom was embattled—Jean-François Revel said a "totalitarian temptation" was in the air. Soviet troops and their proxies were deployed in Vietnam, Cuba, Yemen, Angola, Mozambique, etc. A nativist revolution had plunged Iran, America's "pillar" in the Persian Gulf, into a new darkness, and in affluent Western Europe a willful Euro-Communism had resonance all its own.

It was against this dismal background that Ronald Reagan had risen. He may not have known much about the foreign world, he may not have always been a master of his brief—the details and the execution and the discipline were supplied by his gifted collaborator, Secretary of State George Shultz—but he trusted his own instincts. He had his feel for history's march, his faith in human freedom. He had recoiled from all the talk about America's decline. He had boundless belief in the American mission in the world.

"I do have a strategy," Reagan said after one detailed briefing on the challenge of the Soviet Union: "We win, they lose!"

He was to be vindicated. Where political regimes had taken on an authoritarian cast in the 1970s, the number of countries that chose what broadly could be called political freedom increased by 50% between 1980 and 1990. The American strategic build-up in the Reagan years was of a scale that the Soviet Union could not match.

In Afghanistan, the last battle of the Cold War, the Soviet imperial thrust was broken. American weapons and American will, Saudi money, a Pakistani sanctuary, and a ragtag army of volunteers from the wider world of Islam broke the Soviet will. (We thought well of these volunteers then, they were freedom fighters, the mujahideen, and we nicknamed them "the mooj" in affection.)

It would stand to reason that 45 years of vigilance would spawn a desire for repose. The disputations of history had ended, we came to believe. Such was the zeitgeist of the '90s, the Nasdaq era, a decade of infatuation with globalization. The call of blood and soil had receded, we were certain then. Bill Clinton defined that era, in the way Ronald Reagan had defined his time. This wasn't quite a time of peace. Terrorists were targeting our military installations and housing compounds and embassies. A skiff in Aden rode against one of our battleships. But we would not give this struggle the label—and the attention—it deserved.

A Harvard academic had foreseen the shape of things to come. In 1993, amid this time of historical and political abdication, the late Samuel P. Huntington came forth with his celebrated "Clash of Civilizations" thesis. With remarkable prescience, he wrote that the end of the Cold War would give rise to civilizational wars.

He stated, in unadorned terms, the threat that would erupt from the lands of Islam: "The relations between Islam and Christianity, both Orthodox and Western, have often been stormy. Each has been the other's Other. The 20th century conflict between liberal democracy and Marxist-Leninism is only a fleeting and superficial historical phenomenon compared to the continuing and deeply conflictual relation between Islam and Christianity."

The young jihadists who shattered the illusions of an era practically walk out of Huntington's pages. We had armed the boys of the jihad in Afghanistan. They came to a conviction that they had brought down one infidel empire, and could undo its liberal rival.

A meandering road led from 11/9 to 9/11. The burning grounds of Islam are altogether different than the Communist challenge. There is no Moscow that serves as the seat of Jihadist power. This is a new kind of war and new kind of enemy, a twilight war without front lines.

But we shouldn't be surprised with some of history's repetitions. There are again the appeasers who see these furies of Islam as America's comeuppance, there are those who think we have overreached and that we are riding into storms of our own making. And in the foreign world there are chameleons who feign desire for our friendship while subverting our causes.

Once again, there arises the question in our midst of whether political freedom, broadly conceived, can and ought to be taken to distant lands. In the George W. Bush years, American power and diplomacy gave voice to a belief in freedom's possibilities. A different sentiment animates American practice today.

For the peoples of Islam, the question can be squarely put: Will they tear down their walls in the manner in which the people of Central and Eastern Europe tore down theirs? The people of Islam are thus sorely tested. They will have to show their own fidelity to liberty. Strangers with big guns and ample means can ride into their midst with the best of intentions and skills, but it is their own world, their own civilization, that is now in history's scales.

Mr. Ajami, a professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, is the author of "The Foreigner's Gift" (Free Press, 2007).
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« Reply #35 on: November 22, 2009, 11:49:08 PM »

By REUEL MARC GERECHT
For those of us who have tracked Islamic militancy in Europe, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan's actions are not extraordinary. Since Muslim militants first tried to blow a French high-speed train off its rails in 1995, European intelligence and internal-security services have increasingly monitored European Muslim radicals. Whether it's anti-Muslim bigotry, the large numbers of immigrant and native-born Muslims in Europe, an appreciation of how hard it is to become European, or just an understanding of how dangerous Islamic radicalism is, most Europeans are far less circumspect and politically correct when discussing their Muslim compatriots than are Americans.

A concern for not giving offense to Muslims would never prevent the French internal-security service, the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST), which deploys a large number of Muslim officers, from aggressively trying to pre-empt terrorism. As Maj. Hasan's case shows, this is not true in the United States. The American military and especially the Federal Bureau of Investigation were in great part inattentive because they were too sensitive.

Moreover, President Barack Obama's determined effort not to mention Islam in terrorist discussions—which means that we must not suggest that Maj. Hasan's murderous actions flowed from his faith—will weaken American counterterrorism. Worse, the president's position is an enormous wasted opportunity to advance an all-critical Muslim debate about the nature and legitimacy of jihad.

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 .European counterterrorist officers know well that jihadists can appear, self-generated or tutored by extremist groups, inside Muslim families where parents and siblings lead peaceful lives. Security officials live in fear of the quiet believer who quickly radicalizes, or the secular down-and-out European who enthusiastically converts to a militant creed. Both cases allow little time and often few leads to neutralize a possible lethal explosion of the faith.

It shouldn't require the U.S. to have a French-style, internal-security service to neutralize the likes of Maj. Hasan. He combines all of the factors—especially his public ruminations about American villainy in the Middle East and his overriding sense of Muslim fraternity—that should have had him under surveillance by counterintelligence units. Add the outrageous fact that he was in email correspondence with Anwar al-Awlaqi, a pro-al Qaeda imam well-known to American intelligence, and it is hard not to conclude that the FBI is still incapable of counterterrorism against an Islamic target.

For the FBI, religion remains a much too sensitive subject, much more so than the threatening ideologies of yesteryear. Imagine if Maj. Hasan had been an officer during the Cold War, regularly expressing his sympathy for the Soviet Union and American criminality against the working man. Imagine him writing to a KGB front organization espousing socialist solidarity. The major would have been surrounded by counterintelligence officers.

A law-enforcement agency par excellence, the FBI reflects American legal ethics. Because the FBI is always thinking about criminal prosecutions and admissible evidence, its intelligence-collecting inevitably gets defined by its judicial procedures. Good counterintelligence curiosity—that must come into play before any crime is committed—is at odds with a G-man's raison d'être. And much more so than local police departments—which are grounded to the unpleasantness of daily life—it is highly susceptible to politically correct behavior.

Powerfully intertwined in all of this is liberal America's reluctance to discuss Islam, Islamic militancy, jihadism, or anything that might be construed as invidious to Muslims. The Obama administration obviously doesn't want to get tagged with an Islamist terrorist strike in the U.S.—the first since 9/11. The Muslim-sensitive 9/11 Commission Report, which unambiguously named the enemy as "Islamist terrorism," now seems distinctly passé.

Thoughtful men should certainly not want to see a U.S. president propel a "clash of civilizations" with devout Muslims. However, clash-avoidance shouldn't lead us into a philosophical cul-de-sac. The stakes are so enormous—jihadists would if they could let loose a weapon of mass destruction in a Western city—that we should not prevaricate out of politeness, or deceive ourselves into believing that a debate between Muslims and non-Muslims can only be counterproductive.

The great Muslim reformers of the last 200 years have all been intellectually deeply intertwined with the West. The West has stimulated every single great modern Muslim conversation. The abolition of slavery, the study of science, public schools and widespread literacy, the widely felt and growing need for constitutional and representative government—and less meritorious subjects like socialism, communism and fascism—came about because of Westernization. The Westernization, moreover, was usually driven by Muslims themselves.

This "globalization" has not always been appreciated on the Muslim side. Britain's imperialistic doggedness against the slave trade was deeply resented by Muslims who, like American Southerners, saw slavery, as sacred. Devout Muslims often go ballistic when Westerners and secular Muslims push hard for an expansion of women's rights. Militant Islam is a response to the unstoppable Westernization of Muslim society.

But unavoidably invidious dialogue is the essence of modernity—it is the lifeblood of autocratic societies that have successfully made the painful jump into a democratic era.

The brilliant Iranian revolutionary-turned dissident, Abd al-Karim Soroush, whose ideas contributed to the pro-democracy tumult we've witnessed in Iran since the June 12 election, has forcefully argued for Muslims to critique themselves unsparingly, to happily import and use the West's rational relentlessness to strengthen the faith. An elemental part of Mr. Soroush's critique is that Muslims are capable of thinking on their own. They can take the heat.

In his Cairo speech in June, Mr. Obama pledged "to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear." Muslims don't need his help protecting Islam from mean-spirited Westerners—or from Western novelists, film directors or scholars who might see something in Islamic history that devout Muslims find insulting.

But Westerners could certainly benefit from Mr. Obama underscoring something else he touched on in his Cairo speech: Muslims should stop blaming non-Muslims for their crippling problems. He could ask, as some Muslims have, why is it that Islam has produced so many jihadists? Why is it that Maj. Hasan's rampage has produced so little questioning among Muslim clerics about why a man, one in a long line of Muslim militants, so easily takes God's name to slaughter his fellow citizens?

Had Mr. Obama asked this, we might now be witnessing convulsive debate among Muslims. He missed the opportunity to start this conversation before what is clearly the first Islamist terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. He will probably get another opportunity.

As it stands now, however, Iranian youth who once so eagerly welcomed Mr. Obama's election by shouting his name in Persian—U ba ma! ("He is with us!")—are now writing the president's likely legacy among Muslims who yearn for a better modernity. Disappointed to see how determined Mr. Obama has remained to engage the regime they despise, they now forlornly chant U ba unhast ("He is with them.").

For Muslims who are on the front lines of Islam's bloody reformation, as well as for American counterterrorist officers who must find holy warriors in our midst, Mr. Obama has come down on the wrong side of history.

Mr. Gerecht, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
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« Reply #36 on: November 27, 2009, 07:02:36 AM »

When enough is enough...


Swiss vote on proposal to ban minarets




AP – FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2009 file photo a man passes by a poster of the right-wing Swiss People's Party …

By ELIANE ENGELER, Associated Press Writer – 30 mins ago

GENEVA – The campaign posters are inflammatory: Minarets rising like missiles from the national flag.

A proposal championed by right-wing parties to ban minarets in Switzerland goes to a nationwide vote on Sunday in a referendum that has set off an emotional debate about national identity and stirred fears of boycotts and violent reactions from Muslim countries.

With tensions running high, the Geneva Mosque was vandalized Thursday by unidentified individuals who threw a pot of pink paint at the building's entrance.

It was the third incident against the mosque this month: earlier, a vehicle with a loudspeaker drove through the area imitating a muezzin's call to prayer, and vandals threw cobble stones at the building, damaging a mosaic.

Business leaders say a minaret ban would be disastrous for the Swiss economy because it could drive away wealthy Muslims who bank in Switzerland, buy the country's luxury goods, and frequent its resorts.

The vote taps into anxieties about Muslims that have been rippling through Europe in recent years, ranging from French fears of women in body veils to Dutch alarm over the murder by a Muslim fanatic of a filmmaker who made a documentary that criticized Islam.

Polls indicate growing support for the proposal submitted by the anti-immigrant Swiss People's Party, but it was doubtful it will gain enough momentum to pass. Muslims in Switzerland have kept a low profile, refraining from a counter-campaign.

"Switzerland's good reputation as an open, tolerant and secure country may be lost and this would bring a blow to tourism," said Swiss Hotel Association spokesman Thomas Allemann.

The nationalist Swiss People's Party has led several campaigns against foreigners, including a proposal to kick out entire families of foreigners if one of their children breaks a law and a bid to subject citizenship applications to a popular vote.

The party's controversial posters have shown three white sheep kicking out a black sheep and a swarm of brown hands grabbing Swiss passports from a box.

The current campaign posters showing missile-like minarets atop the national flag and a fully veiled woman have drawn anger of local officials and rights defenders.

The cities of Basel, Lausanne and Fribourg banned the billboards, saying they painted a "racist, disrespectful and dangerous image" of Islam.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee called the posters discriminatory and said Switzerland would violate international law if it bans minarets.

The Swiss People's Party joined forces with the fringe Federal Democratic Union in the campaign. They say they are acting to fight the spread of political Islam, arguing the minaret represents a bid for power and is not just a religious symbol.

The four minarets already attached to mosques in the country would remain even if the referendum passes. Minarets are typically built next to mosques for religious leaders to call the faithful to prayer, but they are not used for that in Switzerland.

Construction of traditional mosques and minarets in European countries has rarely been trouble-free: projects in Sweden, France, Italy, Austria, Greece, Germany and Slovenia have met protests but have rarely been blocked.

In Cologne, Germany, plans to expand the city's Ditib Mosque and complete it with a dome and two 177-foot-tall minarets have triggered an outcry from right-wing groups and the city's Roman Catholic archbishop.

People's Party lawmaker Walter Wobmann said minarets are part of Muslims' strategy to make Switzerland Islamic. He said he feared Shariah law, which would create "parallel societies" where honor killings, forced marriages and even stoning are practiced.

Organizers collected more than the 100,000 signatures required for any Swiss citizen to put a constitutional initiative to a nationwide vote.

The government has urged voters to reject the initiative, saying it would violate religious freedom. Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey has warned it would lead to a security risk for Switzerland; other members of the multiparty government have spoken out against the proposal.

Between 350,000 and 400,000 of Switzerland's 7.5 million people are Muslims. Many are from families who came to Switzerland as refugees from former Yugoslavia during the 1990s.

Less than 13 percent of the Muslims living in the Alpine nation are practicing and most are well integrated, said Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf. She said initiative would "endanger religious peace in our country."

A survey by the respected polling institute gfs.bern last week indicated that 53 percent of voters reject the initiative, although support has grown by 3 percentage points to 37 percent since last month. Typically in Switzerland the margins on such votes narrows as balloting nears. Ten percent of the 1,213 people polled were undecided. The survey had an error margin of 2.9 percent.

"The problem is not so much the minarets, but rather what they represent," said Madeleine Trincat, a retiree from Geneva. "After the minarets, the muezzins will come, then they'll ask us to wear veils and so on."

Carlo Adler, the director of a luxury jewelry shop in Geneva, called the initiative xenophobic.

"I don't see why they should be banned," he said about minarets. "We might as well take off the spires from churches."

The Swiss business organization economiesuisse said it fears a minaret ban would harm Switzerland's image in the Islamic world. The exporting nation sold goods of around 14.5 billion Swiss francs (about $14 billion) to Muslim countries last year, according to economiesuisse.

Peter Spuhler, the head of Swiss Stadler Rail Group, a train and tramway exporting company with markets in Muslim countries, said, "reactions can be very emotional and fierce" if the initiative is accepted.

"This can lead to boycotts," he told weekly SonntagsZeitung.



http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091127/ap_on_re_eu/eu_switzerland_minaret_ban

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« Reply #37 on: November 30, 2009, 01:44:19 AM »

Nearly 58% of Swiss voters Sunday cast their ballots in favor of banning the construction of new minarets in the Alpine republic, a surprise result that led at least one Swiss member of parliament to declare that "the foundations of Switzerland's direct democracy have failed."

That is clearly wrong. Swiss direct democracy shows its mettle when Swiss voters use it to stand up to their political elites, as happened here. Having said that, Sunday's vote, for all the hand-wringing leading up to it, was a decidedly mild-mannered sort of protest. The construction of new minarets is banned, but the building of mosques is unaffected, and the vote does not affect the four existing minarets in the country. Nobody's freedom of worship is threatened, but a symbolic message has been sent.

But what message, exactly? The vote betrays an undercurrent of fear among the Swiss—a fear that is not without cause. There is no denying the connection between radical imams and terrorist acts. Nor should anyone look away from the fact that too many European Muslims flatly reject the norms of their host countries, sometimes in ways that are criminal: honor killings, child brides and the like.

Yet banning minarets does nothing to address that fear. It merely makes it less likely that the average Swiss will be confronted by a visible symbol of Islam upon his skyline. Thus, even as a symbolic gesture, it seems to encourage a head-in-the-sand approach toward the 5% of Swiss who are Muslim. In much of Europe, this is the norm anyway, the result of political correctness and cowardice.

Rather than being a blow against that attitude, Sunday's vote seems only to reinforce it. Banning minarets won't do anything to assimilate Switzerland's or Europe's Muslims, or to ensure that economic opportunity is available to everyone of whatever creed, or to deal with Western Europe's demographic problem of too few newborns.

The ban, in other words, does too much and too little at once. Too much because it becomes a very visible and easily exploited symbol of supposed European intolerance. But it accomplishes too little because it seeks merely to hide from view the problems that gave rise to the fear of the minaret in the first place.
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« Reply #38 on: December 03, 2009, 10:25:38 PM »


http://corner.nationalreview.com/pos...DE5ZjNmYzBjYzU

It's been brought to my attention by several reliable sources that the
Defense Department has brought Louay Safi to Fort Hood as an instructor, and
that he has been lecturing on Islam to our troops in Fort Hood who are about
to deploy to Afghanistan. Safi is a top official of the Islamic Society of
North America (ISNA), and served as research director at the International
Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).


Worse, last evening, Safi was apparently permitted to present a check
(evidently on behalf of ISNA) to the families of the victims of last month's
Fort Hood massacre. A military source told the blogger Barbarossa at the
Jawa Report: "This is nothing short of blood money. This is criminal and the
Ft. Hood base commander should be fired right now."


ISNA was identified by the Justice Department at the Holy Land Foundation
terrorism financing conspiracy trial as an unindicted co-conspirator. The
defendants at that trial were convicted of funding Hamas to the tune of
millions of dollars. This should have come as no surprise. ISNA is the
Muslim Brotherhood's umbrella entity for Islamist organizations in the
United States. It was established in 1981 to enable Muslims in North America
"to adopt Islam as a complete way of life" - i.e., to further the
Brotherhood's strategy of establishing enclaves in the West that are
governed by sharia. As I detailed in an essay for the April 20 edition of
NR, the Brotherhood's rally-cry remains, to this day, "Allah is our
objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our
way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope." The Brotherhood's
spiritual guide, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who issued a fatwa in 2004
calling for attacks on American forces in Afghanistan, openly declares that
Islam will "conquer America" and "conquer Europe."


Also established in 1981, the IIIT is a Saudi funded think-tank dedicated,
it says, to the "Islamicization of knowledge" - which, Zeyno Baran (in
Volume 6 of the Hudson Institute's excellent series, "Current Trends in
Islamist Ideology") has aptly observed, "could be a euphemism for the
rewriting of history to support Islamist narratives." Years ago, the Saudis
convinced the United States that the IIIT should be the military's go-to
authority on Islam. One result was the placement of Abdurrahman Alamoudi to
select Muslim chaplains for the armed forces. Alamoudi has since been
convicted of terrorism and sentenced to 23 years in federal prison.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As noted in this 2003 Frontpage report, 2002 search warrant links Safi to an
entity called the "Safa Group." The Safa Group has never been charged with a
crime, but the affidavit allegest its involvement in moving large sums of
money to terrorist fronts. Safi was also caught on an FBI wiretap of Sami
al-Arian, a former leader in the murderous Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
The year was 1995, and the topic of the discussion between Safi and al-Arian
was Safi's concern that President Clinton's executive order prohibiting
financial transactions with terrorist organizations would negatively affect
al-Arian. More recently, al-Arian has been convicted of conspiring to
provide material support to terrorism.


At Human Events a couple of months back, Rowan Scarborough had a disturbing
report about the FBI's "partnering" efforts with Islamist groups - including
the very same ISNA that the Justice Department had cited as an unindicted
co-conspirator in the terrorism financing conspiracy. A prominent figure in
the report was Louay Jafi:
  Safi is a Syrian-born author who advocates Muslim American rights through
his directorship of ISNA's Leadership Development Center. He advocates
direct talks between Washington and Iran's leaders. He has spoken out
against various law enforcement raids on Islamic centers.

  In a 2003 publication, "Peace and the Limits of War," Safi wrote, "The war
against the apostates [non-believers of Islam] is carried out not to force
them to accept Islam, but to enforce the Islamic law and maintain order."

  He also wrote, "It is up to the Muslim leadership to assess the situation
and weigh the circumstances as well as the capacity of the Muslim community
before deciding the appropriate type of jihad. At one stage, Muslims may
find that jihad, through persuasion or peaceful resistance, is the best and
most effective method to achieve just peace." [ACM: Implicitly, this
concedes there is a time for violent jihad, too.]

  At ISNA's annual convention in Washington in July, one speaker, Imam
Warith Deen Umar, criticized Obama for having two Jewish people - Rahm
Emanuel and David Axelrod - in the White House. "Why do this small number of
people have control of the world?" he said, according to a IPT transcript.
He said the Holocast was punishment for Jews "because they were serially
disobedient to Allah."

  [Steven] Emerson's group [the Investigative Project on Terrorism]
collected literature at the convention approved for distribution by ISNA. It
said the pamphlets and books featured "numerous attempts to portray U.S.
prosecution of terrorists and terror supporters as anti-Muslim bigotry;
dramatic revisionist history that denied attacks by Arab nations and
Palestinian terrorists against Israel; anti-Semitic tracts and hyperbolic
rants about a genocide and holocaust of Palestinians."

  Asked if the FBI should sever ties with ISNA, Emerson said, "ISNA is an
unindicted co-conspirator. It's a Muslim Brotherhood group. I think in terms
of legitimacy there should be certain expectations of what the group says
publicly. If it continues to espouse jihad and anti-Semitism, I think it
nullifies it right to have the FBI recognize it."

If you want to get a sense of the garbage our troops are being forced to
endure in Fort Hood's classrooms, check out Jihad Watch, where my friend Bob
Spencer has more on this episode and on his prior jousts with Safi, here,
here, and here.
What on earth is this government doing, and will Congress please do
something about it?
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« Reply #39 on: December 07, 2009, 05:34:09 PM »

   
The Jihadist Strategic Dilemma
December 7, 2009
By George Friedman

With U.S. President Barack Obama’s announcement of his strategy in Afghanistan, the U.S.-jihadist war has entered a new phase. With its allies, the United States has decided to increase its focus on the Afghan war while continuing to withdraw from Iraq. Along with focusing on Afghanistan, it follows that there will be increased Western attention on Pakistan. Meanwhile, the question of what to do with Iran remains open, and is in turn linked to U.S.-Israeli relations. The region from the Mediterranean to the Hindu Kush remains in a war or near-war status. In a fundamental sense, U.S. strategy has not shifted under Obama: The United States remains in a spoiling-attack state.

Related Special Topic Page
The Devolution of Al Qaeda
As we have discussed, the primary U.S. interest in this region is twofold. The first aspect is to prevent the organization of further major terrorist attacks on the United States. The second is to prevent al Qaeda and other radical Islamist groups from taking control of any significant countries.

U.S. operations in this region mainly consist of spoiling attacks aimed at frustrating the jihadists’ plans rather than at imposing Washington’s will in the region. The United States lacks the resources to impose its will, and ultimately doesn’t need to. Rather, it needs to wreck its adversaries’ plans. In both Afghanistan and Iraq, the primary American approach consists of this tack. That is the nature of spoiling attacks. Obama has thus continued the Bush administration’s approach to the war, though he has shifted some details.

The Jihadist Viewpoint
It is therefore time to consider the war from the jihadist point of view. This is a difficult task given that the jihadists do not constitute a single, organized force with a command structure and staff that could express that view. It is compounded by the fact that al Qaeda prime, our term for the original al Qaeda that ordered and organized the attacks on 9/11 and in Madrid and London, is now largely shattered.

While bearing this in mind, it must be remembered that this fragmentation is both a strategic necessity and a weapon of war for jihadists. The United States can strike the center of gravity of any jihadist force. It naturally cannot strike what doesn’t exist, so the jihadist movement has been organized to deny the United States that center of gravity, or command structure which, if destroyed, would leave the movement wrecked. Thus, even were Osama bin Laden killed or captured, the jihadist movement is set up to continue.

So although we cannot speak of a jihadist viewpoint in the sense that we can speak of an American viewpoint, we can ask this question: If we were a jihadist fighter at the end of 2009, what would the world look like to us, what would we want to achieve and what might we do to try to achieve that?

We must bear in mind that al Qaeda began the war with a core strategic intent, namely, to spark revolutions in the Sunni Muslim world by overthrowing existing regimes and replacing them with jihadist regimes. This was part of the jihadist group’s long-term strategy to recreate a multinational Islamist empire united under al Qaeda’s interpretation of Shariah.

The means toward this end involved demonstrating to the Muslim masses that their regimes were complicit with the leading Christian power, i.e., the United States, and that only American backing kept these Sunni regimes in power. By striking the United States on Sept. 11, al Qaeda wanted to demonstrate that the United States was far more vulnerable than believed, by extension demonstrating that U.S. client regimes were not as powerful as they appeared. This was meant to give the Islamic masses a sense that uprisings against Muslim regimes not dedicated to Shariah could succeed. In their view, any American military response — an inevitability after 9/11 — would further incite the Muslim masses rather than intimidate them.

The last eight years of war have ultimately been disappointing to the jihadists, however. Rather than a massive uprising in the Muslim world, not a single regime has been replaced with a jihadist regime. The primary reason has been that Muslim regimes allied with the United States decided they had more to fear from the jihadists than from the Americans, and chose to use their intelligence and political power to attack and suppress the jihadists. In other words, rather than trigger an uprising, the jihadists generated a strengthened anti-jihadist response from existing Muslim states. The spoiling attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as in other countries in the Horn of Africa and North Africa, generated some support for the jihadists, but that support has since diminished and the spoiling attacks have disrupted these countries sufficiently to make them unsuitable as bases of operation for anything more than local attacks. In other words, the attacks tied the jihadists up in local conflicts, diverting them from operations against the United States and Europe.

Under this intense pressure, the jihadist movement has fragmented, though it continues to exist. Incapable of decisive action at the moment, it has goals beyond surviving as a fragmented entity, albeit with some fairly substantial fragments. And it is caught on the horns of a strategic dilemma.

Operationally, jihadists continue to be engaged against the United States. In Afghanistan, the jihadist movement is relying on the Taliban to tie down and weaken American forces. In Iraq, the remnants of the jihadist movement are doing what they can to shatter the U.S.-sponsored coalition government in Baghdad and further tie down American forces by attacking Shiites and key members of the Sunni community. Outside these two theaters, the jihadists are working to attack existing Muslim governments collaborating with the United States — particularly Pakistan — but with periodic attacks striking other Muslim states.

These attacks represent the fragmentation of the jihadists. Their ability to project power is limited. By default, they have accordingly adopted a strategy of localism, in which their primary intent is to strike existing governments while simultaneously tying down American forces in a hopeless attempt to stabilize the situation.

The strategic dilemma is this: The United States is engaged in a spoiling action with the primary aim of creating conditions in which jihadists are bottled up fighting indigenous forces rather than being free to plan attacks on the United States or systematically try to pull down existing regimes. And the current jihadist strategy plays directly into American hands. First, the attacks recruit Muslim regimes into deploying their intelligence and security forces against the jihadists, which is precisely what the United States wants. Secondly, it shifts jihadist strength away from transnational actions to local actions, which is also what the United States wants. These local attacks, which kill mostly Muslims, also serve to alienate many Muslims from the jihadists.

The jihadists are currently playing directly into U.S. hands because, rhetoric aside, the United States cannot regard instability in the Islamic world as a problem. Let’s be more precise on this: An ideal outcome for the United States would be the creation of stable, pro-American regimes in the region eager and able to attack and destroy jihadist networks. There are some regimes in the region like this, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The probability of creating such stable, eager and capable regimes in places like Iraq or Afghanistan is unlikely in the extreme. The second-best outcome for the United States involves a conflict in which the primary forces battling — and neutralizing — each other are Muslim, with the American forces in a secondary role. This has been achieved to some extent in Iraq. Obama’s goal is to create a situation in Afghanistan in which Afghan government forces engage Taliban forces with little or no U.S. involvement. Meanwhile, in Pakistan the Americans would like to see an effective effort by Islamabad to suppress jihadists throughout Pakistan. If they cannot get suppression, the United States will settle for a long internal conflict that would tie down the jihadists.

A Self-Defeating Strategy
The jihadists are engaged in a self-defeating strategy when they spread out and act locally. The one goal they must have, and the one outcome the United States fears, is the creation of stable jihadist regimes. The strategy of locally focused terrorism has proved ineffective. It not only fails to mobilize the Islamic masses, it creates substantial coalitions seeking to suppress the jihadists.

The jihadist attack on the United States has failed. The presence of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has reshaped the behavior of regional governments. Fear of instability generated by the war has generated counteractions by regional governments. Contrary to what the jihadists expected or hoped for, there was no mass uprising and therefore no counter to anti-jihadist actions by regimes seeking to placate the United States. The original fear, that the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan would generate massive hostility, was not wrong. But the hostility did not strengthen the jihadists, and instead generated anti-jihadist actions by governments.

From the jihadist point of view, it would seem essential to get the U.S. military out of the region and to relax anti-jihadist actions by regional security forces. Continued sporadic and ineffective action by jihadists achieves nothing and generates forces with which they can’t cope. If the United States withdrew, and existing tensions within countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Pakistan were allowed to mature undisturbed, new opportunities might present themselves.

Most significantly, the withdrawal of U.S. troops would strengthen Iran. The jihadists are no friends of Shiite Iran, and neither are Iran’s neighbors. In looking for a tool for political mobilization in the Gulf region or in Afghanistan absent a U.S. presence, the Iranian threat would best serve the jihadists. The Iranian threat combined with the weakness of regional Muslim powers would allow the jihadists to join a religious and nationalist opposition to Tehran. The ability to join religion and nationalism would turn the local focus from something that takes the jihadists away from regime change to something that might take them toward it.

The single most powerful motivator for an American withdrawal would be a period of open quiescence. An openly stated consensus for standing down, in particular because of a diminished terrorist threat, would facilitate something the Obama administration wants most of all: a U.S. withdrawal from the region. Providing the Americans with a justification for leaving would open the door for new possibilities. The jihadists played a hand on 9/11 that they hoped would prove a full house. It turned into a bust. When that happens, you fold your hand and play a new one. And there is always a hand being dealt so long as you have some chips left.

The challenge here is that the jihadists have created a situation in which they have defined their own credibility in terms of their ability to carry out terrorist attacks, however poorly executed or counterproductive they have become. Al Qaeda prime’s endless calls for action have become the strategic foundation for the jihadists: Action has become an end in itself. The manner in which the jihadists have survived as a series of barely connected pods of individuals scattered across continents has denied the United States a center of gravity to strike. It has also turned the jihadists from a semi-organized force into one incapable of defining strategic shifts.

The jihadists’ strategic dilemma is that they have lost the 2001-2008 phase of the war but are not defeated. To begin to recoup, they must shift their strategy. But they lack the means for doing so because of what they have had to do to survive. At the same time, there are other processes in play. The Taliban, which has even more reason to want the United States out of Afghanistan, might shift to an anti-jihadist strategy: It could liquidate al Qaeda, return to power in Afghanistan and then reconsider its strategy later. So, too, in other areas.

From the U.S. point of view, an open retreat by the jihadists would provide short-term relief but long-term problems. The moment when the enemy sues for peace is the moment when the pressure should be increased rather than decreased. But direct U.S. interests in the region are so minimal that a more distant terrorist threat will be handled in a more distant future. As the jihadists are too fragmented to take strategic positions, U.S. pressure will continue in any event.

Oddly enough, as much as the United States is uncomfortable in the position it is in, the jihadists are in a much worse position.

 
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« Reply #40 on: December 16, 2009, 06:24:54 AM »

www.jihad.com
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: December 15, 2009

Let’s not fool ourselves. Whatever threat the real Afghanistan poses to U.S. national security, the “Virtual Afghanistan” now poses just as big a threat. The Virtual Afghanistan is the network of hundreds of jihadist Web sites that inspire, train, educate and recruit young Muslims to engage in jihad against America and the West. Whatever surge we do in the real Afghanistan has no chance of being a self-sustaining success, unless there is a parallel surge — by Arab and Muslim political and religious leaders — against those who promote violent jihadism on the ground in Muslim lands and online in the Virtual Afghanistan.

Last week, five men from northern Virginia were arrested in Pakistan, where they went, they told Pakistani police, to join the jihad against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. They first made contact with two extremist organizations in Pakistan by e-mail in August. As The Washington Post reported on Sunday: “ ‘Online recruiting has exponentially increased, with Facebook, YouTube and the increasing sophistication of people online,’ a high-ranking Department of Homeland Security official said. ... ‘Increasingly, recruiters are taking less prominent roles in mosques and community centers because places like that are under scrutiny. So what these guys are doing is turning to the Internet,’ said Evan Kohlmann, a senior analyst with the U.S.-based NEFA Foundation, a private group that monitors extremist Web sites.”

The Obama team is fond of citing how many “allies” we have in the Afghan coalition. Sorry, but we don’t need more NATO allies to kill more Taliban and Al Qaeda. We need more Arab and Muslim allies to kill their extremist ideas, which, thanks to the Virtual Afghanistan, are now being spread farther than ever before.

Only Arabs and Muslims can fight the war of ideas within Islam. We had a civil war in America in the mid-19th century because we had a lot of people who believed bad things — namely that you could enslave people because of the color of their skin. We defeated those ideas and the individuals, leaders and institutions that propagated them, and we did it with such ferocity that five generations later some of their offspring still have not forgiven the North.

Islam needs the same civil war. It has a violent minority that believes bad things: that it is O.K. to not only murder non-Muslims — “infidels,” who do not submit to Muslim authority — but to murder Muslims as well who will not accept the most rigid Muslim lifestyle and submit to rule by a Muslim caliphate.

What is really scary is that this violent, jihadist minority seems to enjoy the most “legitimacy” in the Muslim world today. Few political and religious leaders dare to speak out against them in public. Secular Arab leaders wink at these groups, telling them: “We’ll arrest if you do it to us, but if you leave us alone and do it elsewhere, no problem.”

How many fatwas — religious edicts — have been issued by the leading bodies of Islam against Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda? Very few. Where was the outrage last week when, on the very day that Iraq’s Parliament agreed on a formula to hold free and fair multiparty elections — unprecedented in Iraq’s modern history — five explosions set off by suicide bombers hit ministries, a university and Baghdad’s Institute of Fine Arts, killing at least 127 people and wounding more than 400, many of them kids?

Not only was there no meaningful condemnation emerging from the Muslim world — which was primarily focused on resisting Switzerland’s ban on new mosque minarets — there was barely a peep coming out of Washington. President Obama expressed no public outrage. It is time he did.

“What Muslims were talking about last week were the minarets of Switzerland, not the killings of people in Iraq or Pakistan,” noted Mamoun Fandy, a Middle East expert at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London. “People look for red herrings when they don’t want to look inward, when they don’t want to summon the moral courage to produce the counter-fatwa that would say: stabilizing Iraq is an Islamic duty and bringing peace to Afghanistan is part of the survival of the Islamic umma,” or community.

So please tell me, how are we supposed to help build something decent and self-sustaining in Afghanistan and Pakistan when jihadists murder other Muslims by the dozens and no one really calls them out?

A corrosive mind-set has taken hold since 9/11. It says that Arabs and Muslims are only objects, never responsible for anything in their world, and we are the only subjects, responsible for everything that happens in their world. We infantilize them.

Arab and Muslims are not just objects. They are subjects. They aspire to, are able to and must be challenged to take responsibility for their world. If we want a peaceful, tolerant region more than they do, they will hold our coats while we fight, and they will hold their tongues against their worst extremists. They will lose, and we will lose — here and there, in the real Afghanistan and in the Virtual Afghanistan.
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« Reply #41 on: December 16, 2009, 06:32:27 AM »

second post of the day

Sent this by a friend in India:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ohbFuTEDes&NR=1
 
The video in urdu, shows pictures of heaven, with rivers of milk and beautiful maidens. Pix are from the compound of Baitullah Mehsud, where they train individuals to blow themselves up, or to perform jihad. These are shown to 15-17 year old's to induce them to embrace the 72 virgins...
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« Reply #42 on: December 17, 2009, 10:13:13 PM »

Penetration Even At The Pentagon: Muslim Spies Setting Muslim Policy
By PAUL SPERRY
Posted 07:34 PM ET


IBD Special Series:
Jihadist 5th Column: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

The internal threat from Muslim extremists in the military extends to high-level Defense Department aides who have undermined military policy. In fact, one top Muslim adviser pushed out an intelligence analyst who warned of the sudden jihad syndrome that led to the Fort Hood terrorist attack.

An honored guest of the Ramadan dinner at the Pentagon this September was Hesham Islam, who infiltrated the highest echelons of the Ring despite proven ties to U.S. terror front groups and a shady past in his native Egypt.

As senior adviser for international affairs to former deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, Islam ran interference for the Islamic Society of North America and other radical fronts for the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood, the subject of my new book "Muslim Mafia."

For example, Islam persuaded brass to sack a Pentagon analyst, Stephen Coughlin, after he advised cutting off outreach to ISNA, which he accurately ID'd as part of a covert terror-support network in the U.S. — something the Justice Department recently confirmed in a major terror finance trial.

Islam invited ISNA officials to lunch with the avuncular England, known by insiders as Gullible Gordon, who in turn spoke at ISNA confabs. Islam also helped set up a Pentagon job booth at one recent ISNA convention to recruit Muslim chaplains and linguists.

Most disturbing, Islam met regularly with Saudi and other embassy officials lobbying for the release and repatriation of their citizens held at Gitmo. He in turn advised England, who authorized the release of dozens of Gitmo detainees. Some have resumed terrorist activities.

No one really knew who Islam was when he was promoted — in fact, the Pentagon removed his bio from its Web site after reporters noted major inconsistencies in it — yet he was allowed to get inside the office of the Pentagon's No. 2 official.

"In effect," a senior U.S. Army intelligence official told me, "we've got terrorist supporters calling the shots on our policies toward Muslims from the highest levels."

Meanwhile, politically incorrect prophets like Coughlin have been frozen out. After the betrayal at Fort Hood, the military could use his analysis of Islamic doctrine more than ever.

I attended a private briefing by Coughlin in February. In a PowerPoint presentation, he detailed how jihadists use the Quran to justify their actions. Some of his slides matched almost word-for-word Hasan's own PowerPoint slides extolling the virtues of jihad and martyrdom. Both, for instance, quoted from the same Quranic passage known as the "Verse of the Sword."

Eerily, Coughlin predicted Hasan's mind-set. He first began briefing the Pentagon on this jihadist doctrine in 2002. So brass can't say they didn't know.

They were warned that the enemy was drawing on religious principles, and that our own Muslim soldiers could succumb to such thinking.

And they were warned that by using ISNA and other radical Brotherhood fronts to endorse Muslim chaplains and recruit Muslim soldiers, they were courting enemies of the U.S. — and courting disaster. But they were too drunk with political correctness to listen.

The jihadist threat to U.S.-based armed forces is external as well as internal — and far greater than reported. It comes from both inside and outside the military.

Fort Hood follows in a line of attacks or plots against military personnel and installations since 2006, when al-Qaida spokesman Adam Gadahn, an American convert to Islam, appeared in a video with Osama bin Laden and encouraged fellow Muslim-Americans to "go on a shooting spree at the Marines' housing facilities at Camp Pendleton" in California.

Over the past few years, an alarming number of homegrown Muslim terrorists have targeted military installations, including:

• A North Carolina cell of white converts to Islam who trained to attack Marine headquarters in Quantico, Va.

• A New York cell of black jailhouse converts who planned to down planes at an Air National Guard base with shoulder-fired missiles.

• A lone Muslim convert who shot two soldiers at a Little Rock, Ark., Army recruiting station, killing one.

• A Los Angeles cell of black Muslim converts who plotted to hit military bases in California.

• A New Jersey cell of hardened jihadists who trained to attack Fort Dix by posing as pizza delivery drivers.

The Fort Dix terrorists had also talked about joining the U.S. Army so they could kill U.S soldiers from the "inside." They planned to hit the post just days after a National Guard unit arrived back from Gitmo. Some of them were inspired by al-Qaida preacher Anwar Awlaki, who on his Yemen-based Web site calls for jihad against U.S. military targets inside and outside the U.S.

But so do so-called moderate American clerics like Zaid Shakir. In "Muslim Mafia," I transcribe for readers a CD recording of one of his sermons circulating in mosques across America. In it, he exhorts the Muslim faithful to attack planes carrying the 82nd Airborne.

Frequently booked by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) as a guest speaker at its events, Shakir tells his Muslim audience: "Jihad is physically fighting the enemies of Islam to protect and advance the religion of Islam. This is jihad."

Acceptable targets of jihad, he says, include U.S. military aircraft. "Islam doesn't permit us to hijack airplanes filled with civilian people," he said, but "if you hijack an airplane filled with the 82nd Airborne, that's something else."

The 82nd Airborne is based out of Fort Bragg, which is part of North Carolina state Sen. Larry Shaw's home district. Shaw is CAIR's new chairman. He is also a minority contractor who operates Shaw Food Services Co. near Fort Bragg. According to the legislator's financial disclosure form, Shaw Food customers include the Defense Department.

Yet CAIR, like ISNA, is an unindicted terrorist co-conspirator. The FBI says CAIR is a terrorist front group and has cut off formal ties to it. So should the military.

Will Fort Bragg be next? Does anybody care?

This enemy is hiding behind a religion, making it easier for them to infiltrate our sensitive security agencies. Communist spooks did not have such an advantage.

As the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq drag on, and as long as our troops are deployed in those Muslim countries, our troops stationed here will increasingly be targeted by homegrown jihadists.

To protect them, military command must stop currying favor with suspect Muslim groups and start beefing up counterintelligence activities. It must institute a policy of zero tolerance for Jihad Joes in the ranks.

At Fort Hood, the military's PC mind-set led to a horrific failure in intelligence and force protection. Commanders missed clear signs that an Islamic fanatic harboring deep-seated resentment against the U.S. had infiltrated their officer corps. They were too busy trying to win Muslim "hearts and minds." We saw how well that worked on Hasan.

If Fort Hood did not open their eyes, snap them out of their PC slumber, nothing will. Our brave men and women in uniform already have to worry about getting ambushed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They shouldn't have to worry about getting ambushed at home.

One unnamed Army chaplain confided to McClatchy Newspapers that more than a few Muslims are conflicted about honoring their duty while fighting other Muslims. What other Muslim soldiers are betraying their oath, betraying their security clearance, betraying their country?

While there is rightly placed concern that we not label all Muslims as Islamic terrorists or enemy sympathizers, it is entirely proper to address certain aspects of violence as uniquely Islamic. After all, our enemies cite the sources of Islam as the foundation of their global jihad.

By ignoring this demonstrably obvious fact, the military is violating the first rule of war: Know thy enemy and what motivates it. That's a recipe for defeat.


http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=515712


See also:

Soldiers Of Allah Or Of America: Does Military Know — Or Care?

The Terrorist-Certified Chaplains Who Minister To Muslim Soldiers

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« Reply #43 on: December 29, 2009, 11:19:26 PM »

As usual, there's little doubt what Ralph Peters thinks:

Updated: Tue., Dec. 29, 2009, 5:52 PM

Lying to ourselves
By RALPH PETERS

Last Updated: 5:52 PM, December 29, 2009

Posted: 12:45 AM, December 29, 2009

On Christmas Day, an Islamist fanatic tried to blow up an airplane whose passengers were mostly Christians. And we helped.

Our government gets no thanks for preventing a tragedy. Only the bomber's ineptitude preserved the lives of nearly 300 innocents.

How did we help Umar Abdulmutallab, a wealthy Muslim university graduate who decided that Allah wanted him to slaughter Christians on their most joyous holiday?

By continuing to lie to ourselves. Although willing -- at last -- to briefly use the word "terror," yesterday President Obama still refused to make a connection between the action, the date and Islam.

Was it just a ticketing accident that led to a bombing attempt on Christmas? Was it all about blackout dates and frequent-flyer miles?

It wasn't. You know it. And I know it. But our government refuses to know it. Despite vast databases crammed with evidence, our leaders -- of both parties -- still refuse to connect Islamist terrorism with Islam.

Our insistence that "Islam's a religion of peace" would have been cold comfort to the family members of those passengers had the bomb detonated as planned.

Abdulmutallab's own father warned our diplomats that his son had been infected by Islamist extremism. Our diplomats did nothing. Why? Because (despite a series of embassy bombings) the State Department dreads linking terrorism to Islam.

Contrast our political correctness with Abdulmutallab's choice of Christmas for his intended massacre. Our troops stand down on Muslim holidays. A captive terrorist merely has to claim that a soldier dog-eared a Koran, and it's courts-martial all around.

We proclaim that the terrorists "don't represent Islam." OK, whom do they represent? The Franciscans? We don't get to decide what's Islam and what isn't. Muslims do. And far too many of them approve of violent jihad.

It gets worse. Instead of focusing on the religious zeal and inspiration of our enemies and how such motivations change the game, our "terrorism experts" agonize over whether such beasts as Abdulmutallab or Maj. Hasan, the Fort Hood assassin for Allah, are really members of al Qaeda or not.

As a Sunday Post editorial pointed out, al Qaeda's far more than a formal organization; it's an idea, a cause. If a terrorist says he's al Qaeda, he is, even if he doesn't have a union card from Jihadi Local 632.

We're dealing with a global Muslim movement, not a Masons' lodge.

And that "global" aspect is especially worrying. Despite limited Special Operations strikes beyond our recognized combat zones, we still don't accept the nature of the threat from jet-set jihadis. Our leaders and our military are obsessed with holding ground in Afghanistan -- even though al Qaeda's growth areas are in Yemen and Africa.

We voluntarily tie ourselves down, while our enemies focus on mobility. Worse, we've convinced ourselves that development aid (the left's all-purpose medicine) is the key to defeating al Qaeda.

That's utter nonsense. Abdulmutallab's a rich kid. He didn't come from a deprived background, bearing the grievances of the slum. He's a graduate of a top English university. And Osama bin Laden's from a super-rich family. How does building a footbridge in Afghanistan deter them?

Most of our home-grown Islamist terrorists hail from middle-class families -- such monsters as Maj. Hasan or the Virginia virgin-chasers under arrest in Pakistan (where jail conditions are a lot worse than at Guantanamo -- can't we just leave 'em there?).

This isn't a revolt of the wretched of the earth. These terrorists are the Muslim-fanatic versions of Bill Ayers and the Weathermen, pampered kids unhappy with the world. Al Qaeda's big guns are re- belling against privilege. There's a lot of Freud in this fundamentalism.

Spoiled brats remade their god in their own vengeful image. And we have to kill them. This one really is a zero-sum game.

We're not just fighting men but a plague of faith. Until Washington accepts that, we'll continue to reap a low return on our investments of blood and treasure.

On Christmas Day, a Muslim fanatic attempted to butcher hundreds of Christians (dead Jews would've been a bonus). Our response? Have airport security analyze the contents of grandma's mini-bottle of shampoo -- we don't want to "discriminate."

With our lies, self-deception and self-flagellation, we're terror's little helpers.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "The War After Armageddon."
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« Reply #44 on: December 30, 2009, 07:30:44 AM »

If 99% of terrorists are Muslim it makes sense to profile Muslims in terror prone places and events. To do otherwise, in the name of PCness, is sheer stupidity.

Denny Schlesinger

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« Reply #45 on: January 06, 2010, 10:30:28 AM »

14 minutes

http://www.pjtv.com/v/2693
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« Reply #46 on: January 06, 2010, 11:32:20 AM »

Ibn Warraq is a brilliant and ballsy guy.

Amazing how those that leave the religion of peace have to live like mob informants.
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« Reply #47 on: January 06, 2010, 11:49:29 AM »

Amazing how those that leave the religion of peace have to live like mob informants.


Have any of you read or tried to read the Holy Koran? I tried. Peaceful my ass! It's full or murder and mayhem. It recites many ways to kill the enemies of Islam.

Still, there have been longs spells in history when Islam was able to peacefully coexist with other religions and cultures. I wonder what makes it warlike at times and peaceful at others. I have the suspicion that it has to do with isolation. When cultures and religions are separated they have less reason to fight. Today television is intrusive, it is beamed down from the sky, and, frankly, a lot of it is offensive to certain cultures. So these cultures fight back.

I don't see a peaceful resolution any time soon. Rather one of two alternatives: Either the "offended" cultures accept the changes or they are beaten to a pulp until they stop rebelling. Neither is likely to happen any time soon.

The biggest danger is the baby bomb, the out-breeding of the West my Islam. Stop using condoms!  grin Maybe the Pope is on to something!   cheesy



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« Reply #48 on: January 06, 2010, 12:07:48 PM »

I've studied the koran and islamic theology since 9/11/01.

This is a good place to start: http://www.jihadwatch.org/islam-101.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #49 on: January 13, 2010, 07:40:44 AM »

Al-Qaeda has a new strategy. Obama needs one, too.
By Bruce Hoffman
Bruce Hoffman is a professor of security studies at Georgetown University
and a senior fellow at the U.S. Military Academy's Combating Terrorism
Center.
Sunday, January 10, 2010; B01

In the wake of the failed Christmas Day airplane bombing and the killing a
few days later of seven CIA operatives in Afghanistan, Washington is, as it
was after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, obsessed with "dots" -- and our
inability to connect them. "The U.S. government had sufficient information
to have uncovered this plot and potentially disrupt the Christmas Day
attack, but our intelligence community failed to connect those dots," the
president said Tuesday.

But for all the talk, two key dots have yet to be connected: Umar Farouk
Abdulmutallab, the alleged Northwest Airlines Flight 253 attacker, and Humam
Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, the trusted CIA informant turned assassin.
Although a 23-year-old Nigerian engineering student and a 36-year-old
Jordanian physician would seem to have little in common, they both exemplify
a new grand strategy that al-Qaeda has been successfully pursuing for at
least a year.

Throughout 2008 and 2009, U.S. officials repeatedly trumpeted al-Qaeda's
demise. In a May 2008 interview with The Washington Post, then-CIA Director
Michael Hayden heralded the group's "near strategic defeat." And the
intensified aerial drone attacks that President Obama authorized against
al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan last year were widely celebrated for having
killed over half of its remaining senior leadership.

Yet, oddly enough for a terrorist movement supposedly on its last legs,
al-Qaeda late last month launched two separate attacks less than a week
apart -- one failed and one successful -- triggering the most extensive
review of U.S. national security policies since 2001. Al-Qaeda's newfound
vitality is the product of a fresh strategy that plays to its networking
strength and compensates for its numerical weakness. In contrast to its plan
on Sept. 11, which was to deliver a knock-out blow to the United States,
al-Qaeda's leadership has now adopted a "death by a thousand cuts" approach.
There are five core elements to this strategy.

First, al-Qaeda is increasingly focused on overwhelming, distracting and
exhausting us. To this end, it seeks to flood our already
information-overloaded national intelligence systems with myriad threats and
background noise. Al-Qaeda hopes we will be so distracted and consumed by
all this data that we will overlook key clues, such as those before
Christmas that linked Abdulmutallab to an al-Qaeda airline-bombing plot.

Second, in the wake of the global financial crisis, al-Qaeda has stepped up
a strategy of economic warfare. "We will bury you," Soviet Premier Nikita
Khrushchev promised Americans 50 years ago. Today, al-Qaeda threatens: "We
will bankrupt you." Over the past year, the group has issued statements,
videos, audio messages and letters online trumpeting its actions against
Western financial systems, even taking credit for the economic crisis.
However divorced from reality these claims may be, propaganda doesn't have
to be true to be believed, and the assertions resonate with al-Qaeda's
target audiences.

Heightened security measures after the Christmas Day plot, coupled with the
likely development of ever more sophisticated passenger-screening and
intelligence technologies, stand to cost a lot of money, while the war in
Afghanistan constitutes a massive drain on American resources. Given the
economic instability here and abroad, al-Qaeda seems to think that a
strategy of financial attrition will pay outsize dividends.

Third, al-Qaeda is still trying to create divisions within the global
alliance arrayed against it by targeting key coalition partners. Terrorist
attacks on mass-transit systems in Madrid in 2004 and London in 2005 were
intended to punish Spain and Britain for participating in the war in Iraq
and in the U.S.-led war on terrorism, and al-Qaeda continues this approach
today. During the past two years, serious terrorist plots orchestrated by
al-Qaeda's allies in Pakistan, meant to punish Spain and the Netherlands for
participating in the war on terrorism, were thwarted in Barcelona and
Amsterdam.

Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, suicide bombers and roadside explosives target
contingents from countries such as Britain, Canada, Germany and the
Netherlands, where popular support for deployments has waned, in hopes of
hastening their withdrawal from the NATO-led coalition.

Fourth, al-Qaeda is aggressively seeking out, destabilizing and exploiting
failed states and other areas of lawlessness. While the United States
remains preoccupied with trying to secure yesterday's failed state -- 
Afghanistan -- al-Qaeda is busy staking out new terrain. The terrorist
network sees failing states as providing opportunities to extend its reach,
and it conducts local campaigns of subversion to hasten their decline. Over
the past year, it has increased its activities in places such as Pakistan,
Algeria, the Sahel, Somalia and, in particular, Yemen.

Once al-Qaeda has located or helped create a region of lawlessness, it
guides allies and related terrorist groups in that area, boosting their
local, regional and -- as the Northwest Airlines plot demonstrated -- 
international attack capabilities. Although the exact number of al-Qaeda
personnel in each of these areas varies, and in some cases may include no
more than a few hard-core terrorists, they perform a critical
force-multiplying function. Their help to indigenous terrorist groups
includes support for attacks -- by providing weapons, training and
intelligence -- and, equally critical, assistance in disseminating
propaganda, such as by building Web sites and launching online magazines
modeled on al-Qaeda's.

Fifth and finally, al-Qaeda is covetously seeking recruits from non-Muslim
countries who can be easily deployed for attacks in the West. The group's
leaders see people like these -- especially converts to Islam whose
appearances and names would not arouse the same scrutiny that persons from
Islamic countries might -- as the ultimate fifth column. Citizens of
countries that participate in the U.S. visa-waiver program are especially
prized because they can move freely between Western countries and blend
easily into these societies.

Al-Qaeda has become increasingly adept at using the Internet to locate these
would-be terrorists and to feed them propaganda. During the past 18 months,
American and British intelligence officials have said, well over 100
individuals from such countries have graduated from terrorist training camps
in Pakistan and have been sent West to undertake terrorist operations.

In adopting and refining these tactics, al-Qaeda is shrewdly opportunistic.
It constantly monitors our defenses in an effort to identify new gaps and
opportunities that can be exploited. Its operatives track our congressional
hearings, think-tank analyses and media reports, all of which provide
strategic intelligence. By coupling this information with surveillance
efforts, the movement has overcome many of the security measures we have put
in its path.
=============
 Part II

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A survey of terrorist incidents in the past seven months alone underscores
the diversity of the threats arrayed against us and the variety of tactics
al-Qaeda is using. These incidents involved such hard-core operatives as
Balawi, the double agent who played American and Jordanian intelligence to
kill more CIA agents than anyone else has in more than a quarter-century.
And sleeper agents such as David Headley, the U.S. citizen whose
reconnaissance efforts for Lashkar-i-Taiba, a longtime al-Qaeda ally, were
pivotal to the November 2008 suicide assault in Mumbai. And motivated
recruits such as Abdulmutallab, the alleged Northwest Airlines bomber, and
Najibullah Zazi, the Afghan-born U.S. resident arrested in New York last
September and charged with plotting a "Mumbai on the Hudson" suicide
terrorist operation. And "lone wolves" such as Maj. Nidal Hassan, accused of
killing 13 people at Fort Hood in November, and Abdulhakim Muhammad, a
convert to Islam who, after returning from Yemen last June, killed one
soldier and wounded another outside an Army recruiting center in Little
Rock.

But while al-Qaeda is finding new ways to exploit our weaknesses, we are
stuck in a pattern of belated responses, rather than anticipating its moves
and developing preemptive strategies. The "systemic failure" of intelligence
analysis and airport security that Obama recently described was not just the
product of a compartmentalized bureaucracy or analytical inattention, but a
failure to recognize al-Qaeda's new strategy.


The national security architecture built in the aftermath of Sept. 11
addresses yesterday's threats -- but not today's and certainly not
tomorrow's. It is superb at reacting and responding, but not at outsmarting.
With our military overcommitted in Iraq and Afghanistan and our intelligence
community overstretched by multiplying threats, a new approach to
counterterrorism is essential.
"In the never-ending race to protect our country, we have to stay one step
ahead of a nimble adversary," Obama said Thursday. He spoke of the need for
intelligence and airport security reform, but he could have, and should
have, been talking about the need for a new strategy to match al-Qaeda's.


Remarkably, more than eight years after Sept. 11, we still don't fully
understand our dynamic and evolutionary enemy. We claim success when it is
regrouping and tally killed leaders while more devious plots are being
hatched. Al-Qaeda needs to be utterly destroyed. This will be accomplished
not just by killing and capturing terrorists -- as we must continue to do -- 
but by breaking the cycle of radicalization and recruitment that sustains
the movement.


Bruce Hoffman is a professor of security studies at Georgetown University
and a senior fellow at the U.S. Military Academy's Combating Terrorism
Center.
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